Categories: vaccinations

Cat health tip: does your vet use a non-adjuvanted rabies vaccine?

Cat injection

The rabies vaccine is obligatory in most US states as I understand it and this vaccine can be bracketed into two types, namely a non-adjuvanted vaccine and a vaccine which contains an adjuvant. The difference can be quite important to the point where it is worth asking your veterinarian, or the vaccine clinic, if they use a non-adjuvanted vaccine or not.

You may know the reason why, which is that adjuvants increase the risk of an aggressive cancerous tumour called a sarcoma at the site of the injection. Any injection given to a domestic cat can induce an injection sites sarcoma. These are referred to as ISS.

Sarcomas of this type are extremely rare at about one for every 10,000 vaccinations but they are a worry to cat owners.

The reason why vaccines contain adjuvants is because they increase the cat’s immune response; they make the vaccine more effective. These vaccines are cheaper because more expensive technology is required for a vaccine to stimulate the immune system when an adjuvant is not added. I suspect that cat owners may choose the cheaper vaccine without realising that it is more dangerous to their cat’s health than the more expensive variety.

I think is worth asking your veterinarian whether the vaccine that (s)he is using contains an adjuvant in order to minimise the risk of an injection site sarcoma.

P.S. injections should be placed at the farthest point from the center of the animal so that if a cancer does take hold it causes the minimum amount of damage. That’s my understanding of feline vaccinations. Everything should be done to minimise health risks. Vaccines are not entirely benign medical procedures.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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