At St. Louis Cat Clinic, only the most efficacious and safest vaccines are used for our cat patients. Only the necessary vaccines are recommended for each cat based on it's lifestyle and risk of exposure to transmissible diseases. Recommendations for indoor only cats are different from indoor/outdoor and outdoor cats.
St. Louis Cat Clinic uses only modified live and recombinant vaccines. All adjuvented killed virus vaccines place a cat at risk of developing a fibrosarcoma cancer (1 in 10,000 cats) at the site of a vaccination. Even at 1 in 10,000 odds, it is not worth the risk in our opinion.
Fibrosarcoma tumors first appeared in cats in 1992. Much research has been done to determine why the tumors developed. This was the time when a few cats developed Rabies with the use of modified live Rabies vaccines. Because of that incidence, killed adjuvented vaccines for Rabies and other diseases were developed. Then the advent of tumors was first noted. Research has shown that adjuvents in killed virus vaccines are the reason the tumors development.
St. Louis Cat Clinic has always used modified live virus (MLV) Distemper/Respiratory vaccinations (intranasal or subcutaneous injectable vaccines) because they provide the best immunity. The limited number of fibrosarcoma tumors at vaccination injection sites seen at St. Louis Cat Clinic were at the site of killed adjuvented Rabies vaccines. About 11 years ago, the first recombinant (no adjuvents) Purevax Rabies vaccine came on the market. St. Louis Cat Clinic has not seen any more fibrosarcoma tumors at vaccination sites since switching to the Purevax Rabies vaccine.
Now the clinic has made the switch to recombinant Feline Leukemia vaccines.
Recombinant vaccine technology has increased the cost for those much safer vaccines. There is no reason in our veterinarian's opinions to risk a tumor at a vaccine site ever. We will continue to use the safest vaccines because it is the absolutely right thing to do. The doctors will not risk fibrosarcoma formation at vaccine sites for their cats, clinic cats, or our rescue cats.
If you decide to have your cat vaccinated someplace else, ask if the vaccines used are all modified live virus or recombinant vaccines before allowing them to be given to your cat. Killed adjuvented vaccines are very likely to cost less, but if a fibrosarcoma develops, it is very likely that you will lose your cat to the tumor. Invasive surgery and leg amputation is the preferred treatment for a fibrosarcomas. New treatments and radiation have been developed, but are not always life saving.
Dr. Freesh was in veterinary school when many cats were not vaccinated and died horrible deaths from Distemper, Upper Respiratory disease, and Leukemia. Dogs died of Distemper, Infectious Hepatitis, and Parvovirus regularly. That no longer has to happen. When Dr. Fresh was a little girl, she had a classmate who had had polio and was permanently crippled. Many children died of diseases that are now preventable due to the development of excellent vaccines. Dr. Freesh never wants to see so many cats and dogs lost to preventable diseases again. It was heartbreaking.
If you have concerns or questions, please call St. Louis Cat Clinic at 314-832-2287.