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What every pet family should know to help detect cancer in man’s best friend

Nationwide® shares health guidance, virtual walk to #CurePetCancer during National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

As a pet parent, "cancer" can be one of the scariest words to hear coming from your veterinarian. Statistics indicate that one in four dogs in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetimes,1 making it the number one disease-related cause of death for our canine companions. Fortunately, veterinary cancer treatment is advancing every day, and pet families have more options than ever.

November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month and Nationwide pet insurance is doing its part by sharing common warning signs, offering pet parents personalized insights on their dog’s relative risk of developing the disease, and providing funds to support research for a cure. 

Look for signs
Improving awareness about common signs of cancer can lead to earlier detection. Signs of cancer can include:

  • Changes in appetite or difficulty eating
  • Lumps or sores that won’t heal
  • Limping or exercise intolerance
  • Aversion to touch
  • New anxiety or aggression
  • Accidents or blood in stool or urine
  • Coughing or difficulty breathing

Other conditions may share similar warning signs with cancer, though, so it’s important to watch your pet for subtle changes and call your veterinarian if you have concerns.

Be proactive
Looking at a dog’s breed, size and life stage can help determine its relative risk for cancer. According to extensive analysis of Nationwide claims data, approximately 50% of dogs over the age of 10 will be diagnosed with cancer, with larger dogs at higher risk of developing the disease at an earlier age.

Nationwide’s recently launched digital platform, the Pet HealthZone®, can help pet parents better understand their dog’s risk for cancer, as well as other conditions for which they may be predisposed. The platform includes breed-specific health concerns, symptoms to watch for, preventive measures that may be taken, what to expect at the vet, and potential costs associated with treatment. 

“The thought of receiving a cancer diagnosis for your pet is understandably devastating, however, taking proactive steps to learn about their relative risk can take away some of that fear of the unknown,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President, Pet Health and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “Using a tool like the Pet HealthZone can not only help you to understand what cancers may be common for your dog’s breed, but also how you might recognize early signs, and what questions you might want to ask your veterinary healthcare team.” 

The tool, which is free for all users, also features general overviews of 16 different types of cancer, including some of the most common among Nationwide-insured dogs: skin cancer, spleen cancer, lymphatic cancer, and liver cancer.

Be prepared
Many veterinary expenses associated with cancer diagnoses and treatments are eligible for reimbursement with Nationwide pet health insurance depending on a member’s plan.

To illustrate the peace of mind that comes with preparedness, check out the story of Nationwide-insured dog Mylo whose aggressive cancer required advanced treatment, a long lost brother, and a financial safety net from Nationwide.

Visit PetInsurance.com to explore coverage options.

Take a walk to #CurePetCancer 
Pet lovers are invited to join the virtual 2023 Nationwide® Pet Cancer Awareness Walk, presented by the Animal Cancer Foundation and hosted on the WoofTrax mobile app. When registered participants track their walks on the WoofTrax mobile app between now and Nov. 30, 2023, Nationwide will donate 25 cents per walk, up to $60,000, to the Animal Cancer Foundation.  For details and registration, visit wooftrax.com/curepetcancer.

Over the last 13 years, Nationwide has donated nearly $600,000 to the 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. 

Animal Cancer Foundation, “Cancer & Your Pet: What You Should Know”