A AND ELSA!
INJECTION-SITE SARCOMAS DON’T IGNORE CAT LUMPS
heir Fullest Lives
more on the calmer side — though, I do love to run laps around the yard as fast as I can too! At times, Elsa is too excited. I’ll be very content, spending time with Mom and Dad or
by myself, happily chewing on my chew toy when Elsa will run up and jump on me. Can you believe that? But, siblings will be siblings, and I love my sister very much. Being with Elsa since we were both born, you might think that we’re inseparable. At times, we can be. Whenever it’s especially chilly outside, Elsa and I will curl up
together for extra-cozy warmth. Outside, we also enjoy playing with sticks that we find. Mom says we look like those old chariot races humans did a long time ago because we pick up the same stick and go running around the backyard side-by-side with the stick in our mouths.
“At the time I was in vet school,” says Dr. Jevon Clark, “veterinarians started to recognize that cats were getting nasty skin tumors that were extremely locally invasive. They would invade, bone, muscle, and tissue and sometimes were not resectable.” These invasive tumors or sarcomas would appear where the cats had received vaccines. Many vaccines were administered around cats’ necks at the time because the extra skin there made the injections easier to give. However, some cats would develop injection-site sarcomas. These tumors were terribly invasive, and many times, veterinarians could not get rid of them completely, which, unfortunately, led to some cats having to be euthanized. For a while, many cat owners were hesitant to get their cats vaccinated because these sarcomas only seemed to appear when the cats received their vaccines. As time went on though, research was performed and data was collected that explained what was happening. Vaccines create small wounds on the body. Mild inflammation is a natural response to this. Yet, for a small population of cats, this inflammatory response isn’t so mild and an abnormal inflammatory response can trigger these tumors. These cats react to any sort of injection, not simply vaccines.
Other times though, we’re perfectly content to go about our daily business on our own. Sometimes, Elsa will want to go outside and I’m perfectly content to be inside.
Elsa also really likes snuggles. Whenever Mom and Dad are sitting on the couch, she’ll jump right up there with them and settle down in their laps. I like snuggling, but not as much as she does. I know that Mom and Dad like to have attention, so I lie down next to them with my head in their lap to let them know
I’m there. Then, once I make sure they’ve gotten enough attention, I’ll stretch out on the couch next to them. But, I will admit, when Elsa is getting attention from our parents, it’s only fair that I get attention too. I’ll always head into the room whenever I know she’s with them, and Elsa does that to me too — I suppose that’s what happens when you share a mom and dad with a sister. The two of us are really happy to be here with Mom and Dad, who make sure we are loved and fed and that our health is top-notch. Dr. Ball is our doctor, and she’s really wonderful. Elsa and I know that all the humans at the clinic work really hard to make sure we’re happy and healthy, and we always have a good time when we go. We might share a lot in our lives, but I’m happy that I can share such an amazing life with Elsa, filled with so many loving humans.
This prompted the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) to update their guidelines for vaccine delivery locations. The guidelines today require vaccines to be injected in the lowest possible parts of the body, such as the legs. This means that in the worst-case scenario, if a cat develops a non-resectable sarcoma we have the option to amputate a leg rather than euthanizing the cat. Fortunately, injection-site sarcomas are rare, meaning the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risk of injection-site tumors for cats. “In the 13 years I’ve been here, I’ve seen maybe four cases of injection-site sarcomas,” explains Dr. Clark. If your cat develops a lump anywhere on its body, whether at an injection site or not, we highly encourage having it looked at right away. If we catch it in its early stages, we can help prevent further damage.
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