Feline Vaccine-Induced Sarcoma

Side effects can be a concern when thinking about a feline vaccine. While vaccines are created to prevent diseases and illnesses, there are sometimes risks involved. One of these is feline vaccine-induced sarcoma.

Feline Vaccine-Induced Sarcoma

A sarcoma is a soft-tissue tumor, noticeable by firm lumps beneath the skin. When it is vaccine-induced, it forms at the spot where the injection was made. Most often, it is a side effect of the rabies vaccine and the feline leukemia virus (FeLV), though others vaccines have come into question.

How Vaccines Can Cause Sarcoma

One of the theories behind the cause of this illness is the introduction of an aluminum adjuvant into the rabies vaccine and the FeLV to help them work better. It's also thought that the use of larger needles can drag hair beneath the surface of the skin, causing an inflammation and irritation which could, in turn, lead to a tumor. Genetics are thought to have a role in it, too; some cats may have more of a predisposition to developing tumors than others. However, the rate for a vaccine-induced sarcoma to occur lies between one in a thousand to one in ten-thousand.

Symptoms of Sarcoma

Most cats will have a small bump that occurs after receiving a vaccine. Some might develop slightly larger, firmer bumps at the site of injection – these could be abscesses as a result of irritants in the vaccine. However, this is something that should go away after a few days. If it is not something that goes away, then you will need to have your cat checked out immediately to make sure that it is not sarcoma. Your vet may offer you a free checkup if he or she is the one who performed the vaccination. Sarcomas can appear anywhere from months to years after vaccinations.

Sarcoma Feline treatment

This sort of cancer is a very fast-moving, aggressive cancer. Because of the way that it can spread between muscles and skin, it is very difficult to get rid of. The best chance to get rid of sarcoma is to use both surgery and radiation, but even this is not incredibly helpful as the cancer has a very high nonoccurrence rate.

Prevention of Vaccine-Induced Sarcoma

To lower the risk of feline vaccine-induced sarcoma, vaccinations are being created without the use of an adjuvant and create less irritation at the injection site. You can request your vet to use a smaller hypodermic needle, which is less likely to deposit hair or other debris beneath your cat's skin. Some veterinarians have taken to giving vaccinations in one of a cat's rear legs. This is far more painful for the cat, however were a sarcoma to develop here, the leg could be amputated in order to save the cat. Vets have also redefined the 'schedule' in which cats are given vaccinations in attempts to lower the number of vaccinations are needed over their lifetime.