For all cat owners, please read this.

Old 07-12-05, 11:47 PM
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Unhappy For all cat owners, please read this.

My wife and I have a beautiful 7 year old black domestic shorthair named Louie. From the time we've owned him, he's never been sick, never a bump, bruise, or anything. Perfect teeth, thick coat, and a big old mouth for meowing. We love him more than words can say.

3 weeks ago, I noticed a lump on his right rear leg. It was right by the joint, and I thought maybe it was cartilage or the bone or something. He didn't show any sign of discomfort, runs and jumps around like normal for him. Last week, I could see it as he walked. It has grown to almost an inch in size. He still shows no sign of discomfort. The only noticeable thing is, he kicks his leg out slightly when he walks.

We took him to our vet yesterday, and he confirmed what we had feared. It's a sarcoma. I had done some searching and found that some vaccines can cause cancerous tumors. These are Feline Vaccine Associated Sarcomas. They are fibrosarcomas that can come in different types. They are very aggresive as well.

They can appear in a few months or ten years, and while they're considered relatively rare, there's no real warning. Our vet never told us about any possible risks associated with a rabies vaccine, no matter how slight. Ours didn't even need it, as the only time he has ever been outside was to go to the vet. In our area, the law requires it, so we went ahead like good citizens and had it done.

Now, we wait for the results of a biopsy. At the very least our poor cat, whose only worry yesterday was getting out of that $&@* pet carrier, will lose his leg, and may require radiation therapy afterward. At the very worst, nothing can be done other than radiation or chemo that would likely only extend his life a relatively short time.

In my searches, I've found several sites that may help to educate people on what they could be dealing with, and what to look for. This site is very comprehensive in its explanation.

This site has some other resources.

This is a petition for safer vaccines for companion animals.

I've been around cats all my life. I've had them, my sister, my brother. One of us or the other has had at least one cat for the last 40+ years. My wife has been around cats and dogs all her life. None of us had ever heard of this. My wife has used the same vet for 40 years. She couldn't imagine that they wouldn't inform us of the possibility of something like this happening.

I'm a combination of sad that this has happened and poor Louie has no idea what he's up against, and angry that we weren't told of a possible side effect, no matter how slight the chance. Would knowing to watch for something and possibly catching it early make a difference? We don't know, but we weren't given a choice. We didn't know to look. We humans take medications all the time that list all sorts of possible side effects, no matter how banal or how low the probability. When it comes to our companion animals though, we are told they need these shots, and can't be told they can cause cancer??

I don't want to throw people into a panic or suggest that they shouldn't have your pet vaccinated, I just want to make them aware if they already aren't. I wouldn't want anyone else to be blindsided like we were. Our pets deserve better.
Old 07-13-05, 03:53 AM
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Sorry to here about your Louie. He's a cool looking cat. It's amazing how an animal will bounce back from losing a limb, so don't worry to much about that part. He will be fine but as humans we imagine going through it ourselves and it kills us. It would me.

The debate on how often a cat should be vaccinated has been ongoing for a long time. Some say every year some say every 3-5 years. It would be nice if they could all get together and give us the true scoop.
Old 07-14-05, 12:32 AM
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Thank you Mattison. I had asked our vet about recovery from an amputation, and he confirmed what I had read previously. I've already got a contingency plan in place for some of his favorite perches just in case.

It's actually been weighing more heavily on my wife. We noticed it right around the 10th anniversary of the day she had her much beloved lhasa put to sleep. He had been with her a long time, and while he was in surgery to have a tumor removed they discovered the extent of it. After talking with the vet, she decided to not bring him back out of the surgery. She gave up the chance to say goodbye so he wouldn't suffer any longer, and it gets hard for her around that time. He was her only companion and joy for quite some time, and it was 4 years before she felt as though she was ready for another pet.

I can understand why a DVM would be hesitant to tell someone of the prospect, especially given the relative rarity of it. Some people would be hesitant to have their pets vaccinated at all, and that in itself could be dangerous, especially for an outdoor pet. At the same time, I feel as though pet owners have a right to know if there's anything that could happen with any procedure. He or she may not be completely comfortable doing it, but I know ours wasn't completely comfortable telling us it was the result of something that was done as a preventative measure.

We're not going to get our hopes too high until we know the results, but we will of course pray for the best.
Old 07-14-05, 08:48 PM
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It is devastating when something happens to a pet. They trust us to take care of them. After all, they are not wild animals. There are so many variables to life that we not only cannot ponder all of them, but also may not know all of them. It is hard to imagine that something that is supposed to help can backfire.
Old 07-22-05, 09:40 PM
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Say no to Rabies Shot for indoor cats.


In response to DaveK145. A few years ago my (at the time) vet told me my (indoor cats) must have rabie shots. My cat Toy Boy who was fit as a fiddle got his rabies shot and the following day he could not use his back legs. He did recover after 5 harrowing days. But NEVER will I subject an indoor cat again to a rabies shot. The chances of an indoor cat getting rabies is riduculously low while the chances of having a terrible reaction to the rabies shot is horrifyingly high. If you love your cat and it is always indoors tell your vet NO I do not want my cat to have a rabies shot.


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