Cancer in Dogs and Cats

If you are in the market for pet insurance, you need to know about the most common cancers in pets, such as lymphoma in dogs and feline leukemia, and other types of cancer affecting pet health. When it comes to pet insurance coverage, some pet cancers may be excluded, particularly if the breed you have chosen is predisposed to the disease.

Pet Cancer

Common types of cancer in pets

Below a listing of the most common types of cancer in pets:

Lymphoma in Dogs and Cats


Though, lymphoma affects both dogs and cats, lymphoma in dogs is more widespread. In cats, the disease most commonly occurs in the gastrointestinal system. Male cats are affected by lymphoma more than females, and certain breeds of dogs are at a higher risk. Lymphoma in dogs is more common under the following dog breeds: the Boxer, Golden Retrievers, Scottish Terriers and Basset Hounds. There is no cure for lymphoma in pets. However, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery are the most common treatment methods for lymphoma in dogs and cats to extend its life.

Canine and Feline Leukemia


Leukemia can occur in both dogs and cats, but the cause of leukemia in dogs is lesser known. The disease may occur spontaneously in young puppies, and symptoms can vary greatly from dog to dog, often mimicking other diseases. Pet health insurance may exclude leukemia; be sure to read your policy carefully. Dog and feline leukemia is a virus that attacks the white blood cells. Feline leukemia is a retrovirus that attacks the immune systems of infected cats and can lead to a variety of cat health problems. The feline leukemia virus is transmitted through infected urine, feces, blood and saliva. The feline leukemia virus causes, in addition to leukemia, lymphoma, other cancers, anemia, reproductive problems, intestinal problems and immune system disorders. Cats are routinely vaccinated against leukemia because it is easily spread among the feline population.

Bone Cancer in Dogs and Cats
Bone cancer is a disease more commonly seen in large dog breeds. Locally invasive, bone cancer spreads rapidly throughout the pet.

Mammary Glands Cancer in Pets


Cancer of the mammary glands, breast cancer, strikes female cats and dogs that have not been spayed, or those that were spayed after their first heat cycle. While mammary tumors are not guaranteed in intact pets, the instance rises dramatically in pets that remain unaltered. The mammary glands in companion animals are put together in “chains,” meaning that removing one gland is often not enough to rid the pet of breast cancer. In the event that you veterinarian has recommended that you spay your dog or cat and you did not follow their advice, some insurance policies will deny the claim citing you did not follow the advice of your veterinarian which is a common exclusion.

Brain Tumors in Pets

Brain tumors are not common in pets, but they do occur. Because these tumors are hard to detect without expensive diagnostic testing, they are most often fatal. Brain tumors often result in seizure activity and dramatic behavioral changes in the companion animal.

Sarcomas in Pets

Sarcomas account for about 15 percent of all soft-tissue cancers in dogs. Less common in cats, sarcomas are seen frequently in dogs that are middle-aged or older. Large breeds are more apt to have sarcomas than smaller breeds. When detected and removed early, these tumors are rarely fatal.

When it comes to pet health, it is important that you understand the types of pet cancer and other diseases that may afflict the pet you have chosen to welcome into your family. Pet insurance rates can vary among different breeds and certain conditions may be excluded. Before signing up for any of the many pet insurance plans, be sure that you read the fine print.

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