Vaccine Associated Sarcoma in Felines

cats, dogs, pets

So my sweet cat Harper is having his left rear leg amputated right now due to having a Vaccine Associated Sarcoma from getting a Feline leukemia shot.  😦

It seems to be more common of a thing than not. The vet that is doing this surgery had just done one for another woman. Her cat’s tumor grew within 4 weeks of its injection. My cat had the shot 3 years ago. So slow growing but when it showed up on his leg, it started to balloon up fast. We had it removed and then found out it was the most aggressive type of cancer. So I did not want to wait to long for it to come back and possibly spread throughout his body. He has an 80% survival rate if we remove his leg. If we did not he would probably die with in a year.

Cat’s that have had their leg removed due to this are called “VAS” kitties or “Tripods”! Vets give shots in the leg or tail now so if they do develop cancer, they can remove the leg or tail and the cat will live a full life.

Cat’s do well on three legs. They adjust to it and don’t think about it like us humans. They don’t have an attachment (so to speak! 😉 ) to their limbs like us humans.

So if your cat is an indoor cat, I would recommend you not getting the Feline Leukemia shot! All shots can cause cancer, but this one usually is the first one to suspect.

I LOVE my Harper! I hope he will be fine and live a long happy life. I know my dog Finn would be crushed without his special buddy…………………………

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6 thoughts on “Vaccine Associated Sarcoma in Felines

  1. I just found this post after doing a search on VAS. I discovered a lump on my cat’s shoulder last night. I took him in today, sure it was a bug bite or something silly. The vet was concerned because it’s right where she would have given him his distemper shot (he hasn’t had one for a year). He will have surgery next week to remove the lump and biopsy. I am so worried! Can you follow up on your kitty? I see it hasn’t been long since his amputation. I hope Harper is doing okay. My biggest fear is that my cat will be emotionally traumatized by waking up without his leg. Maybe that’s silly but it’s more concerning to me than the actual loss of the limb itself. Thank you for posting your experience with this.

    1. I am so sorry :(. I hope that the lump on your kitties shoulder ends up to be nothing. But if does end up to be cancer, my thought are with you.
      I feel this is way more common than we think.
      I will post a follow up on my kitty on my blog site.
      Harper is doing well. Back to pretty much his normal self. I am not going to lie and say it’s been an easy thing for him or for me. He struggled with it at first and I could tell he was very frustrated with why his left leg did not work anymore. I really think he had the “phantom” leg thing going on. but now he’s hopping along and figuring how to jump again. He needs to get his strength back. He did lose allot of weight from not eating. I had to syringe feed him for then first 11 days. Now he’s eating again on his own.
      Now time will tell if he is truly cancer free. All I can do is love him and keep him fat and happy.
      I will send you an email with some other info!
      Janice

  2. All you can do is make your pet feel loved and valued. I’m sure this experience will bring you closer. Thanks for sharing this experience.

  3. Hi Janice!
    My 6 y/o kitty, Finn, appears to have VAS. Biopsy sched 4/4/17. Labs and lung xrays look good. Vet is recommending left rear leg amputation soon after biopsy results. All my research about survival rates has been fairly gloomy. Wondering how your dear Harper has done and if you might have tips for those first days following amputation. Thank you so much, hope all is well with you. Kathy P.

    1. I am so sorry Kathleen.
      Well my Harper is alive and well. He is at a ripe old age now and still sassy as ever!

      What I did after my cats surgery was that I kept him in a safe quite place. So I had him in a kitty tent in our living room and I slept on the floor by him. He was disoriented and confused.
      Best advice to be calm yourself. If you get stressed about it, so will your cat.
      Take baby steps and your cat probably won’t poop for like 5 to 7 days. Harper finally pooped on the 10th day! I was getting worried!
      You will be amazed at how they bounce back. Feel free to email me any time with questions. Mackerilla@gmail.com

      Also I got 100% of my money back from his surgery from the pharmaceutical company that made the vaccine.
      Ask you Vet for the info on the vaccine manufacturer and you call them and put in a claim. Make sure you have all you medical records and your Vet has to call too

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