July 2011 Issue

Risk of Vaccine-Associated Sarcomas

This lethal cancer is the reason why veterinarians have revamped vaccination protocols in past years.

Due to the demonstrable effectiveness of vaccines in preventing a wide variety of infectious feline diseases, veterinarians used to recommend that every cat be injected every year with every available vaccine. In the past two decades or so, however, this approach to preventive therapy has come into question for several reasons. Although the vaccine safety and efficacy record is very good overall, it has now become clear that vaccination can sometimes lead to clinical disease. It is remotely possible for vaccines to damage developing fetuses in pregnant cats or to stimulate allergic reactions, and for improperly placed injections to cause severe nerve injury. And although uncommon, vaccines and the equipment used to administer them, if poorly maintained or stored, can become contaminated with infectious agents that can be transmitted by injection.

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