Vaccine-related sarcomas

The facts about this rare vaccination complication.
Jun 01, 2010

Sarcoma formation is thought to be related to adjuvanted vaccines because they trigger a more significant inflammatory response. Administering vaccines at the recommended sites assists in identifying the likely causative agent for local reactions and neoplasia and aids in management after a sarcoma has formed. The recommendation to administer vaccines in the distal limbs of cats has reduced the presence of sarcomas in the scapular area. However, an unintended result of this vaccination site change has been an increase in sarcomas in the flank area. When a cat crouches during vaccine administration, the cat's skin is loose, and the vaccine may inadvertently be given in the lateral abdomen instead of the limb. Unfortunately, the flank area is not conducive for sarcoma management. This indicates a need for increased precision during vaccination. Team members can be especially helpful in this regard by using the appropriate minimal effective restraint.

For more on vaccine administration and patient care during vaccination, see Tips for safe vaccine administration and patient care.