Information About Vaccines That Can
Save Your Cats Life!

BY Dr. James Richards, DVM

Spanish Translation / Traducción Español

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Many pet owners have their cats vaccinated regularly but don't always know the benefits and risks associated with vaccines.

Over the years, feline vaccines have done much more good than harm, but it is vital that you know and discuss the proper vaccine protocol with your veterinarian as some side effects can be deadly.

Feline vaccines have been associated with an aggressive cancer known as "vaccine associated sarcoma", or "VAS", that can appear at the vaccine site weeks, months or even years after being administered. VAS is known to be more common in cats than in dogs.

There is a simple protocol recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners for administering vaccines, that, if followed, can reduce the chances of contracting VAS. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • No injection, vaccine or otherwise, should ever be given in the scruff (between the shoulder blades) of the cat's neck.
  • Discuss with your veterinarian the possibility of using intranasal vaccines, thereby reducing the risk of vaccine associated sarcomas.
  • Make sure your cat is given only the vaccines it truly needs based on its age, lifestyle and environment, and make sure the vaccines are given no more frequently than necessary.
  • Rabies vaccines should be administered in the right rear leg, as distally as possible.
  • FeLV vaccines should be administered in the left rear leg, as distally as possible.
  • FVRCP or "upper respiratory vaccines" should be administered intranasally or over the front right leg, as distally as possible.

The Vaccine Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force (VAFSTF) is an organization dedicated to raising the awareness of VAS so that people can work with their veterinarians to make informed choices about the vaccination program that is best for their animals.

Be informed. Make the best choices for your pet.

You can learn more about the American Association of Feline Practitioners, VAS and the Vaccine Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force at:

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