Veterinarians have learned that the vaccines we use to successfully protect cats from infectious diseases can occasionally cause a type of cancer known as a fibrosarcoma, a malignant tumor often appearing just beneath the skin, sometimes at the site of a vaccination.
The report says: "Although vaccine-associated sarcomas have been reported to develop in association with administration of a variety of vaccines, current data suggests they are more frequently associated with administration of the feline leukemia virus vaccines and adjuvanted rabies virus vaccines." (An adjuvant is a substance that is added to increase the efficacy of the vaccine). Rabies vaccines have been developed that do not use adjuvants, but the report says it has not yet been established that these new vaccines will reduce the likliehood of cats developing vaccine-associated sarcomas.
Not enough is known yet known about vaccine-associated sarcoma to make any specific pronouncements, and a task force has been formed to study the problem and come up with some answers. One of the things the task force has done so far is establish standardized injection sites for vaccinations. Be sure to discuss injection sites with your vet. By using standardized injection points on the cat for each vaccine, veterinarians and medical researchers hope to gather statistical data that could lead to an answer to the question: "Do certain vaccinations cause cancer?"
Excerpted from The K.I.S.S. Guide to Cat Care by Steve Duno
Copyright 2001 by Steve Duno.
Excerpted by permission of Dorling Kindersley Publishing Inc.
All rights reserved.
No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.