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Vaccine Associated Sarcoma?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any experience with vaccine associated sarcoma? My poor little black kitty (Barney) apparently has this. I've done some searching on the web and am not feeling much better based on what I've found so far. Barney is scheduled for surgery on the 15th, but apparently these usually come back (is that right?) Unfortunately, he has a lump is the worst possible place (between his shoulder blades). I'm not sure how much I want to put him through (radiation, chemo, ??) if there's not much hope for a cure. Anyone have any hopeful stories they can share about this condition? I sure could use some hope right now.
post #2 of 4
I am so sorry to hear about your kitty's cancer.

I don't know a ton about the treatments for vaccine sarcoma, but it is important that you understand how chemotherapy for cats is different for chemotherapy for humans. With humans, chemotherapy is given in very high doses designed to completely kill the cancer. This is done even if the patient is 90 years old and/or the long-term prognosis is bleak no matter what is done. And this is why human cancer patients get so ill from the treatment. It kills the cancer cells but it also kills a ton of healthy cells too.

Veterinary chemotherapy is very different. While the same basic drugs are used, the doses are much, much lower. The goal is not to cure the cancer. Unless a tumor is completely operable, the patient will eventually die from it. The goal of chemotherapy is to slow the growth of the tumor and shrink it if possible, but the patient's quality of life is first and foremost. Doses are never so high that they cause the horrible side effects that human cancer patients have. The result is that the chemotherapy doesn't make the patient sicker, but rather it can add weeks, months, or sometimes even years of good quality life to the patient's life. If the vet thinks Barney will benefit from chemotherapy, it is definitely worth pursuing.
post #3 of 4
I don't have any personal first-hand experience with VAS, but my father's friend does have a cat who was "cured" of VAS between his shoulder blades; the vet was able to get clean margins, which is the key.

Here is a great sight that may offer some info and support on the subject:
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Sorry I was busy yesterday and didn't get to check back.

The good news is that Barney's lump is very small, but they won't know how deep it is until the surgery. Thanks for the note about chemo. I'll see what the vet recommends and then decide.

One thing I've read is that VAS is most often associated with rabies and Felv vaccines. Neither is the cause in Barney's case. He doesn't get the Felv vaccine (he's indoor only) and gets rabies in the rear leg area. So this is from that other vaccine (forget what its called) that all cats get. Its the only one my vet gives in the shoulder area.

Barney's brother (Fred) is fine so far, but the vet said we need to consider not vaccinating him any more (he's also indoors only). This would be against the law in my county, but I don't care.
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