Top Veterinarians Recommend NOT to Revaccinate a VAS Cat!

Vaccine-Associated Feline Cancer Taskforce: Roundtable Discussion
June 2005
Members of the Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma Taskforce and invited participants discuss current vaccination protocols and options.

Excerpt:

Question: Should a cat that has had a vaccine-associated sarcoma be vaccinated in the future?

DR. SCHULTZ :
What is to be achieved by vaccinating the cat? The most important vaccine, at least as it relates to the health of the cat, is for feline parvovirus. In this case, there is a good correlation between antibody titer and immunity. So, measure the cat's antibody titer; if the titer is indicative of protection, then don't vaccinate the cat.

From a regulatory aspect, we have a dilemma with rabies virus vaccines. This is, of course, a regional issue that we may not be able to get around. But my recommendation would be to not vaccinate a cat that has had a vaccine-associated sarcoma.

DR. RICHARDS :
Would that be with any vaccine or specifically with the vaccine associated with the sarcoma?

DR. SCHULTZ :
Any vaccine.

DR. ELSTON :
Including intranasal vaccines?

DR. SCHULTZ :
We do not have any evidence to suggest that topical application of a vaccine can lead to a sarcoma, but is revaccination really required? Not from the standpoint of feline parvovirus; immunity is probably lifelong, but if in doubt, measure antibody. Also, that cat is probably going to be restricted to the indoors, and considering the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of herpesvirus and calicivirus vaccines (and also figuring that the cat has already been exposed to herpesvirus and calicivirus sometime during its life), I wouldn't even use the intranasal herpesvirus-calicivirus vaccine. Additionally, that cat may be in a compromised state of health as a result of cancer and treatment.

DR. MCGILL :
How many cats actually recover from vaccine-associated sarcomas, and why put the cat through another injection?

DR. MCENTEE :
We have seen cats live long enough to get another vaccine-associated sarcoma from subsequent vaccine administration at another site.

DR. HENDRICK :
We have anecdotal evidence that a cat that has had a vaccine-associated sarcoma is more likely to get a second one if it's revaccinated. Why take the risk?

DR. GLICKMAN :
My comment is to obtain DNA from those cats. We may not be able to do anything with it now, but this is clearly an unusual, highly susceptible cat. I would also ask practitioners to contact veterinary epidemiologists if they see multiple cats from a pedigree cattery with sarcomas.

DR. RICHARDS :
Should we avoid any injectable products in these cats?

DR. SCHULTZ :
If there is an alternative route, I recommend its use. If you have a choice between an injectable form and an oral form of an antimicrobial, for example, pick the oral form. At least that's my recommendation.

DR. HENDRICK :
Yet, an association with other injectable agents has not been proven.

DR. GLICKMAN :
But I think it would be judicious, even though there is no evidence to support it.

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Third paragraph under Vaccination of cats with prior vaccine-associated adverse events:
"In cats that have had vaccine-associated sarcomas, if practical, injectable vaccines should not be administered again."
2006 American Association of Feline Practitioners Feline Vaccine Advisory Panel Report.
JAVMA, Vol 229, No. 9, November 1, 2006 page 1413
http://www.aafponline.org/resources/guidelines/2006_Vaccination_Guidelines_JAVMA_%20PDF_Plus.pdf