Sarcomas are not new, nor are they extremely rare. But in 1991, veterinarians began to notice a higher than expected number of sarcomas occurring on the body in places where vaccines are commonly injected. Since most sarcomas are not linked with vaccines in any way-and those that are associated occur only infrequently-it is very difficult to establish a clear relationship. Veterinary scientists are clarifying the picture, but much more needs to be learned.
Therefore, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Veterinary Cancer Society have formed the Vaccination-Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force. This group was established to address the issue of in frequent sarcoma formation at injection sites of commonly used feline vaccines. In addition to representatives from these groups, the task force includes representatives from university research labs as well as the United States Department of Agriculture and the Animal Health Institute.
The objectives of the task force are to: define the true scope and incidence of the problem; determine the causal and prognostic factors of the syndrome; evaluate treatment protocols; and develop an interim plan to educate and inform veterinarians and the public.
Until this problem is solved, the best response it to discuss the issue with your veterinarian. After considering both the vaccine and your cat’s situation, your veterinarian will design a program that not only protects against infectious disease but is as safe as possible.