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How Can I Prevent My Cat from Getting Cancer from Vaccination?

Vaccination is a medical procedure that should be undertaken with the same thoughtful consideration as any other medical procedure in veterinary practice.

As with most aspects of medical practice, there are benefits and risks to vaccination. Accordingly, vaccination protocols should be individualized to the patient, with consideration given to the medical importance and zoonotic potential of the infectious agent, the patient’s risk of exposure, and germane legal requirements.

Vaccine-associated feline sarcomas are a conundrum for the veterinary medical profession.

We do not understand the attributes of the feline immune system and genome that make cats susceptible to VAFS, yet we must continue to vaccinate cats against key infectious diseases. Vaccination was once considered an essential routine medical procedure with minimal risk. In the past decade, we have recognized that vaccination protocols must include assessment of the risk of sarcoma development. Until more is known about the epidemiology and pathogenesis of VAFS, we can only limit vaccination to the minimum required for optimal health. As new vaccines and technologies are developed, their potential advantages and limitations should be evaluated. The VAFSTF recommends that previously issued guidelines on standardization of vaccination and injection sites, diagnosis and management of VAFS, and reporting of adverse events be followed.

Learn more about vaccine-associated sarcomas from the AVMA:


NB: Prevention is, by far,  the best treatment for this very difficult and fatal disease. Rabies vaccination is required by law and is usually the only vaccine I advise–Dr. Jeff