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Information about VAS and IBD and 88 Categorized Links
Cat Food for Thought:
You are a responsible cat owner, and always look after your catís health. You take your cat to the vet once a year for a checkup and his annual vaccines. Suddenly one day, you feel a small lump on your catís shoulder. You are not sure what it is, so you keep a watch on it, feeling it every day until you realize that it is not going away Ė in fact, it seems to be growing at an alarming rate. You take your cat to the vet for an examination. You are shocked to find out that your cat has cancer Ė somehow caused by the very vaccinations that you ordered regularly to protect his health. Your cat has Vaccine-Associated Sarcoma, or ďVASĒ, something you have never even heard of!
WHAT IS VAS?
ō Vaccine-Associated Sarcoma, or VAS, is a cancerous, malignant tumor induced by a vaccination. These sarcomas occur in as many as 1 in 1000 cats vaccinated (and probably more because VAS is under-reported). The tumor develops as a consequence of an overzealous inflammatory or immune system reaction to the vaccine.
ō The VAS tumors develop and grow quickly, are often not responsive to treatment, and result in serious illness and ultimately death of the cat. Recurrence of such tumors is common after surgical removal.
ō The feline leukemia vaccine and the rabies vaccine are most frequently suspected in pets that develop VAS; however, other kinds of vaccinations may also trigger VAS.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
A firm, painless swelling under the skin, in the region of the body in which the cat was vaccinated. Run your hand over your catís shoulders, back, and rear legs periodically to monitor for development of vaccine-associated sarcomas. If you notice anything, especially 3 months or more after the vaccination, see your veterinarian immediately.
Treatment may include one or more of the following: surgical excision, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and alternative/holistic methods.
Talk to your veterinarian about the risk of exposure and the seriousness of VAS when considering any kind of vaccination for your cat. Discuss options for prevention, which may include:
ō Vaccinating for rabies every 3 years, rather than yearly. If your cat is strictly indoors, consider NOT vaccinating for rabies at all (be aware that some states require rabies vaccination by law).
ō If your cat is strictly indoors, consider NOT vaccinating for feline leukemia virus.
ō Insisting on vaccinations being given in the hind quarters (right and left rear legs), or better yet, in the tail. If VAS should develop in these cases, the affected limb (or tail) can be amputated to save the life of the cat. Never allow a vaccination in the scruff or between the shoulder blades!
Keep detailed records for all your catís vaccinations. These records, provided by the veterinarian administering the vaccine, should include the type of vaccination given, the location of the injection on the catís body, the manufacturer of the vaccine, and the lot/serial number from the vaccine vial (preferably a sticker that can be placed on your vaccination certificate).
For more information, please visit the pages in the menu at the top of this web page. Please note that the links on those pages are by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of links related to VAS. Instead, I have listed the links that I personally have found useful. I will continue to update the list of links whenever I come across something new. I will denote a new link with NEW. In addition, links which are particularly useful will be noted with a ę.
HELP! MY CAT HAS JUST BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH VAS. WHAT DO I DO?
1. First, learn a little background about VAS by visiting some of the links noted with a ęon our VAS page.
2. Join the Vaccine Associated Sarcoma Support Group on Yahoo! Groups. With almost 500 members, you will get lots of support from others who are going through the same thing. This group shares lots of information about all stages and treatments of VAS.
3. After your initial shock period has worn off, armed with the new information you have learned and the support of others, decide how to best handle the situation. Remember that even with advice from others, only YOU can decide what is best for you and your cat. Although you donít want to rush to a decision, if you opt for any kind of treatment (alternative or conventional), proceed as quickly as possible, as time is of the essence.
The information contained on this website is intended for general reference purposes only and is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Veterinary medical information and treatment standards change rapidly and while we make efforts to obtain the most reliable, up-to-date information, some information may be out-of-date or even unreliable. This information should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional.
This website is dedicated to the memory of my cat, Jack. At age 9 years old, he succumbed to this horrible disease.
Jack was first diagnosed with VAS back in June 2002. He had a rapidly growing tumor in his shoulder area. The VAS came from a
leukemia vaccination received in the scruff of the neck in April 2001. Jack died on September 5, 2003.
In Memory of Jack
(April 13, 1994 Ė September 5, 2003)
WHAT ABOUT IBD?
After Jack died, my surviving cat, Sonny, developed IBD. Thatís Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He had it for over two and one-half years. His symptom was mainly chronic, daily diarrhea and periodic vomiting. After hundreds of dollars of tests, finding nothing, the diagnosis was made. We tried to control it with a change in diet (we had a dramatic improvement at first just by removing all dry food from his diet and replacing it with Fancy Feast wet food that doesnít contain wheat gluten, and later by feeding him 9 Lives Tuna mixed with canned pumpkin) and steroids like Budesonide. Sonnyís weight gradually dropped from 11.5 pounds down to 6.5 pounds, and in June 2006, his health deteriorated significantly. Sadly, Sonny died on June 17, 2006.
Why am I telling you this? In 2005, I joined an IBD message board on Yahoo!. I was shocked and surprised to discover that IBD is very common in cats, and that many people on the message board think that vaccines can trigger the start of IBD! They recommend NOT vaccinating a cat that is sick with IBD (or any sick cat, for that matter). They also warn against over-vaccinating in general, just like I have been doing with this website for several years now. I am fairly certain that Sonny did NOT contract IBD from a vaccine, since he hadnít been vaccinated for over a year prior. But, as a service to those of you who may have cats with this problem, and to honor Sonny and his brave battle with IBD, I created a new page for IBD on this website, listing sites I have found useful.
This website was last updated on: Saturday, September 12, 2015