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Nationwide® offers insights, supports research during Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Registration open now for virtual walk to #CurePetCancer

In recognition of National Pet Cancer Awareness Month in November, Nationwide is drawing attention to cancer risk with data-driven insights and supporting research with a virtual pet walk to raise funds for treatment breakthroughs.

Nationwide pet insurance members submitted claims for $53 million for cancer diagnosis and treatment in 2021, making cancer-related conditions one of the most common types of medical claims. 

“Cancer is the diagnosis we fear most for our pets,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s Chief Veterinary Officer. “But as in human medicine, advances in veterinary care mean many diagnosed pets can maintain a good quality of life thanks to early detection and treatment options.

“Nationwide has been there to help pet families with the cost of care for 40 years and has contributed more than $500,000 to pet cancer research in that time. This year, we’re excited to add our own ground-breaking canine cancer studies to the vital area of study, creating opportunities for veterinary healthcare teams and pet families to create better health outcomes.”

Which dogs are most at risk?
Nationwide’s team of veterinarians and data scientists recently analyzed the policy and claims information of more than 1.6 million Nationwide-insured dogs over a six-year period. Below is a sampling of those insights:

  • The relative risk for a cancer claim increases with the size of a dog in both mixed breeds and purebreds. Large and extra-large dogs are also at higher relative risk for developing cancer earlier, beginning sometime between the age of six and seven as opposed to onset between nine and 10 for toy/small dogs.
  • Purebred dogs as a group have a higher risk for cancer claims than do crossbred and mixed-breed dogs, at nearly two times (1.9) the relative risk. 
  • Breeds with highest risk include:
    • Boxer – Highest risk of skin cancer
    • Beagle – Highest risk of liver cancer
    • Rottweiler – Highest risk of bone cancer
    • Golden Retriever – Highest risk of splenic cancer
  • Purebreds report cancer at vastly different rates across breeds. Among the top 10 most popular breeds among Nationwide-insured pets, the Boxer (7th most popular breed) was 161% more likely to report cancer, while the Chihuahua (8th most popular breed) was 47% less likely.

Nationwide has produced a series of pet health white papers using policy and claims data; these and other studies are available at PetInsurance.com/petdata.

The importance of prevention and early detection
Pet parents are advised to seek veterinary attention if a pet exhibits signs of weight loss, drastic changes in appetite or thirst, or changes in energy level. It is also advised to enroll in pet insurance while pets are young and healthy for maximum coverage in the event of a cancer diagnosis.

Many veterinary expenses associated with cancer diagnoses and treatments are eligible for reimbursement with Nationwide pet health insurance depending on a member’s plan. Visit PetInsurance.com to explore coverage options for dogs, cats as well as many avian and exotic pets.

Take a walk to #CurePetCancer
Pet lovers are invited to join the virtual 2022 Nationwide® Pet Cancer Awareness Walk, presented by Animal Cancer Foundation and hosted on the WoofTrax mobile app. When registered participants track their walks with their pets on the WoofTrax mobile app between now and Nov. 30, 2022, Nationwide will donate 25 cents per walk, up to $60,000, to Animal Cancer Foundation. Residents of Alabama and Massachusetts aren’t eligible to participate.

Walkers are encouraged to post photos on their favorite social media platforms using the hashtag #CurePetCancer. For details and registration, visit wooftrax.com/curepetcancer.  

Over the last 12 years, Nationwide has donated more than $500,000 to Animal Cancer Foundation’s mission to fund research and increase public awareness of comparative oncology, the study of naturally occurring cancers in pets and people.