An Owner's Report on Vaccination Site Sarcoma
Last year my Scottish Fold, Dundee, developed a huge lump on her back, near
the shoulder blades. It was clearly visible, and had not been there the day
before. It was so big, that I assumed she had been stung by a bee or wasp,
and was having an allergic reaction. We immediately took her to our vet.
They performed a biopsy, removing a small portion of the lump for
examination. They determined that it was some kind of tumor, and referred
us to the Veterinary Tumor Institute in Santa Cruz, California. I
appreciated the fact that my vet quickly recognized that they did not have
the necessary experience to help Dundee.
At the Tumor Institute, Dundee was quickly diagnosed as having an injection
site sarcoma. The doctor mentioned that Dundee's tumor, which was the size
of half a tennis ball, was extraordinarily large. Usually, the tumors are
about the size of an olive. It was explained to me that in 1991
veterinarians began to notice a higher than expected number of sarcomas
occurring on cats' bodies in places where vaccines are commonly injected.
Subsequently, an association between vaccine administration and sarcoma
development has been established. The only treatment is aggressive surgery,
where the sarcoma and the area surrounding the sarcoma are removed.
I was told that without surgery, Dundee would have only a few months to
live. With surgery, and radiation treatment, she would have a chance at two
more years, and perhaps more (in about 15% of the cases, the tumor is
eradicated completely). This cancer spreads amazingly fast, so speedy
treatment is essential.
We decided to have the surgery and radiation treatment done. Overall, the
surgery and treatments cost $3000.00. The surgery took three hours, and
they had to remove parts of her shoulder blades to get all of the cancerous
cells. Dundee had to stay in the hospital for five days. When she came
home, we kept her in a large dog kennel so she would not try to run around
and jump. She did not feel al all good - and lost weight. I had to try
very hard to get her to eat - special cat foods, baby food, tuna, etc. I
bought a baby spoon and fed her with that. Sometimes when she tasted the
food, I could get her to eat on her own. I did this several times a day.
Three weeks after the surgery, Dundee began radiation treatments. She went
three times a week, for two months, and each appointment took about 2 hours
because she needed to be sedated each time (they use gas for this).
Finally, the radiation treatments were done, and we monitored Dundee at home
as she got her strength, and her appetite back.
Dundee is doing very well now. Her fur is growing back (white in the area
of the radiation treatment), and she can run and jump without pain. I am
very happy we decided on the surgery (although frankly, there was no other
decision for us). It was hard on Dundee, but when I see her now, rolling in
the sun, I think it was worth it for her too.
On the subject of vaccinations, I do still have my cats vaccinated, but I
ask the vet to inject into the leg. If a tumor develops on the leg, it is
much more difficult for the cancer to reach major organs, and, if necessary
the leg can be amputated, completely eradicating the tumor. Not a nice
thought, but I believe this gives your cat the best chance.
|This site was created for information.
This site was NOT created to diagnose or treat any condition.
ALWAYS seek the attention of your veterinarian to help in the diagnosis and treatment of your pets.
Last updated 03/26/02
© Copyright 2000 C-GEMZ, All Rights Reserved
Send questions, comments, and suggestions about web page to