At Acupet Veterinary Care we pride ourselves on using the most modern medicine and surgery techniques available. Part of that philosophy is to not vaccinate your pet any more than is absolutely necessary. For example, in dogs we use three-year vaccines for Rabies and Distemper/Parvo, as they have been proven effective for three years through scientific research, and they create no adverse reactions. However, in cats we use vaccines that are only labeled for one year, and there’s a reason why we do that.
Cats are known to have the tendency to form tumors at vaccine injection sites. These tumors are called Fibrosarcomas, and in many cases they are deadly.
For years we didn’t know why vaccines cause these tumors in some cats and not others. It has been shown that there is somewhat of a genetic component to it, in that some families of cats are more prone to it than others.
However, newer research has shown beyond any doubt that there is a component in most cat vaccines that can cause these fibrosarcomas. That component is called adjuvant.
Adjuvant is a substance that is added to a vaccine by the manufacturer to help make the vaccine more potent. It is added to most vaccines for both dogs and cats, but only cats seem to have any problem with it. Research has shown beyond any doubt that it is this adjuvant that is causing fibrosarcomas in cats at the vaccine injection sites.
Once these fibrosarcomas arise they are very difficult to remove. They are usually very invasive and burrow deep into the underlying tissue. It is for this reason that some veterinarians actually vaccinate cats lower on the legs rather than up on the shoulders or flanks, where it is less painful. The thought there being that if a fibrosarcoma arises they can just amputate the leg to assure its removal. That sounds rather drastic to us.
At Acupet we prefer to simply make sure that fibrosarcomas never arise. It is for that reason that we use only non-adjuvanted vaccines. There is only one vaccine manufacturer that never uses any adjuvant in ANY of their feline vaccines. That manufacturer is Merial. Therefore we will only use Merial vaccines for our cat vaccinations, even though they are considerably more expensive than other manufacturer vaccines.
Merial vaccines are of the highest quality, and provide complete immunity to your cat without the danger of your cat forming a life-threatening fibrosarcoma. The downside? They are only labeled for one year. Therefore, we must see the pet annually to re-vaccinate. However, we feel that that is a small price to pay to avoid the chance of your pet forming a potentially life-threatening tumor.