My beloved 6-yar-old cat Pinto had to be euthanized recently due to complications related to vaccine-associated feline sarcoma. This is a cancer, said to be caused by agents added to the rabies and the feline leukemia vaccines to make them more potent. If these vaccines cause cancer, why are the pharmaceutical companies marketing them and why are the vets using them?Pinto had two operations. The first, performed by the local vet, was to remove visible cancer; the second, performed by a veterinary surgeon, was an amputation of his right hind leg, where the sarcoma was located. He lived for only three months after the amputation, but with a good quality of life -- it was a blood clot that took his life in the end.I wonder, however, if I did the right thing. Were both operations necessary? Did the first one spread the cancer? And, if so, did the amputation do any good? Would Pinto have lived just as long, or longer, had I simply managed the pain?.
A.L., Silver Spring, Md Mar 28, 2004
I am sorry to hear of the terrible ordeal that you and your cat went through. The vaccine-induced sarcoma problem (which can also be caused by other injections) is being researched, and hopefully a new generation of safer vaccines -- some of which can be sprayed into a cat or dog's nose -- may soon be marketed.Extreme caution is warranted when it comes to vaccinating cats. Permanent indoor cats may require fewer (if any) than those who are allowed out and risk exposure to sick cats.Injecting the vaccines under the skin of the cat's tail may be a cautionary step, since it would be less traumatic to amputate the tail rather than a leg if cancer were to develop. Both operations were necessary for your cat, I believe, offering him the best chance of some quality of life if not actual recovery.
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