Injection site sarcomas and vaccines
Vaccinations are just one way that cat owners can ensure that their furry family members stay healthy. Vaccines can lessen the severity of some diseases, while others can completely prevent diseases from happening in the first place. Like any medical procedure, vaccination carries certain risks which should be weighed with the benefits of keeping one’s pet current on vaccinations. Some cats develop soreness at the site of injection, mild fever, or are more lethargic the day they receive their vaccines. A more serious, but far less common vaccine reaction is the development of a sarcoma (tumor) at the site where the injection is administered. These tumors can arise weeks, months, or even years after the vaccination is given.
Feline injection-site sarcomas are cancerous tumors that are caused by injections. The specific cause of why these tumors arise is not known, however it has been theorized that inflammation may be a contributing factor. A component of many vaccines is adjuvant, a substance that increases the effectiveness of the vaccine by causing an immune response. Recently, some studies have suggested that the act of instillation of substance into the skin can induce inflammation which may transform into a sarcoma. Other studies state that some cats are at higher risk for developing a sarcoma due to their genetics. Since the use of adjuvant in vaccines has been associated with increased risk of sarcoma development, Chasing Tails Mobile Veterinary Services offers a variety of vaccines for cats that are adjuvant-free, including rabies vaccines that only need to be boostered every 3 years. Together, you with your veterinarian can discuss which diseases your cat should be vaccinated against.
For most patients, vaccination is low risk and can protect your cat against diseases that can be deadly. Every cat is at different risk for acquiring infectious disease based on lifestyle, home environment, and age. This is why it is imperative to work with your veterinarian to develop a vaccination schedule that works with you and your cat.