Now, I know my boys are due for their 12-week vaccination in a little while and I've started reading about the main risk associated with the vaccination procedure, Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma. That sounds like a vague, scientific term so let me simplify it for you; it's cancer.
While research is ongoing into the causes of VAFS, I found the site of a Vet (unfortunately nowhere near New York) named Ron Hines of the 2nd Chance Sanctuary and he has some great advice on minimizing the risks of VAFS, including several tips:
- Use only non-adjuvented vaccines in your cats. Adjuvented vaccines give us longer terms of immunity but they also cause considerably more local tissue inflammation than non-adjuvented vaccines. Vaccine manufacturers are quickly shifting to vaccines that do not contain irritating enhancing chemicals. These new vaccines will be less likely to cause tumors.fibrosarcoma cat.
- Request that your veterinarian use 25 gauge needles when administering vaccines to your cat. Small hypodermic needles are less likely to carry irritating hair and debris under the skin.
- Request that your veterinarian massage the area where the vaccine was administered. Massage spreads out the antigen (vaccine) lessening inflammation.
- A somewhat gruesome suggestion that has been made by some academicians is that the vaccination be administered in a leg. The theory is that if a tumor should develop the leg could be amputated saving the cats life.
- Avoid over vaccinating your pet. There is scientific evidence that panleukopenia and feline leukemia vaccinations last for at least three years, probably more. Yearly vaccination for these diseases is not necessary annually. Since yearly rabies vaccination is required by State law, be sure a non-adjuvented rabies vaccine is used."
I'm no vet, but this all sounds logical to me. Now, how do I find a vet who is sensitive to these issues?
This reminds me of the issue of mercury amalgum fillings in the dental field. Most dentists swear by these standard fillings and will get extremely defensive if confronted by a patient who doesn't want something they've read has increased health risks.
I want to find someone who is with the program, b/c I don't want to put the cats at unnecessary risk. Any advice? I don't want to make an appointment, show up at the Vet for a vaccination, and then have him downplay my concerns.