Vaccine-Associated Sarcomas in Cats

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What is a vaccine-associated sarcoma (VAS)?

A sarcoma is a type of cancer that affects mesenchymal cells, which can be found in tissues such as fat and muscle.  VAS is a sarcoma that is potentially induced by a vaccination. The real cause is a genetic predisposition which can cause the effected cat’s inflammatory cells to get out of control and release a substance that causes DNA damage.  It is normal for a vaccine to cause a little localized inflammation. It is only in a small minority of cats (about 1 in 10,000) that this inflammation can get out of control ultimately leading to a sarcoma. This situation is very rare, but concerning if it does occur.

My cat has a bump at his vaccination site, should I be worried?

Often, cats will have a slight inflammatory reaction and a small granuloma (bump) will form. A granuloma is not a concern and should go away in a few months. However, if the bump does not go away or continues grow, you should talk to your veterinarian about testing the lump to determine if it is cancerous. 

What if my cat’s lump ends up being a sarcoma? Will my cat be okay?

At this point, you and your veterinarian will discuss treatment options. This may includes surgical removal of the lump, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The extent of treatment necessary is very dependent upon your individual animal and how far your animal’s cancer has progressed. Though rare, this is a cancer, and a very serious disease and prognosis will depend heavily on the extent of disease present and response to treatment.

Even though it’s rare, why even take the risk? Should I continue to vaccinate?

Yes! This may sound like a simple answer but neglecting core vaccinations will likely do your pet more harm than good. Vaccinations are given for a reason and they are often to prevent very nasty and often fatal diseases. Some of these diseases, such as rabies, are also zoonotic (can infect humans). If you avoid vaccinating your cat you may end up not only putting your cat at greater risk for infection, but putting yourself and others in harms way as well.

Can I at least limit the amount of vaccinations I give?

Yes – you and your veterinarian may discuss if there are certain vaccinations that may not be necessary. These vaccines will most likely be vaccines for certain diseases that are not prevalent in your area or your cat will unlikely be exposed to. To reduce the risk of sarcoma further, our hospital uses the PureVax line of vaccines specifically formulated for cats without an adjuvant so post-injection inflammation is even less likely.

Have questions about your cat’s vaccines? Please ask! We are happy to address any specific concerns you may have about your furry family member. That’s what we are here for!

Payment Plan Options

We understand that managing the cost of veterinary care can be challenging and want to do whatever we can to help! Whether you are trying to get caught up on wellness and dental care or are facing an unexpected illness or injury, we are happy to offer payment plans to our clients upon request. Below are our two options for invoices that cannot be paid in full the day of service. If you are interested in setting up a payment plan, please let a receptionist know in advance of check-out if possible. 

Under $150

Balances under $150 may be kept on an in-house payment plan. A credit card number will be auto drafted or held check deposited on the date of your choosing, within 30 days of original service. No interest will accrue on this balance as long as it is paid within the agreed upon time frame.

Over $150

Balances exceeding $150 will be sent to a third party payment manager, PaymentBanc, with eligibility determined by credit check. A no-interest payment plan will be set up through PaymentBanc with auto draft from a checking or savings account or credit card with terms determined by credit recommendation. There is a $40 annual set-up fee for this service. For more information, their website is: paymentbanc.com

The Fine Print

All accounts on which no payment is made for 30 days or more will be subject to an interest rate of 18% APR, billed monthly with a minimum handling charge of $5 per statement. Any existing outstanding account balance can be converted to one of the above no-interest payment plans by contacting our office. For members of our Wellness Rewards Program, no rewards will be garnered on payments received after the day of service.

We hope these plans allow for the best possible veterinary care to be affordable and accessible to you and your pets. Thank you for your loyal patronage!

Ask the Trainer Day!

DIAH on Wheels - Our New Charity!

Have you Heard?

DIAH on Wheels is a new charitable organization founded by Dr. Lynne Flood, owner veterinarian of Daniel Island Animal Hospital. Dr. Flood has been practicing veterinary medicine for 21 years and opened DIAH in January of 2004. Her passion is caring for older patients; helping them feel better for longer. She recently completed a certification in gerontology, which further fueled her interest in care for aging humans and animals. Dr. Flood knows how much joy a healthy pet can bring, especially to the elderly. DIAH on Wheels is her way of spreading that joy by keeping pets and their owners happy and healthy!

Our organization is partnering with Berkeley Seniors to provide a pet food bank and veterinary care to animals of seniors in need in Berkeley County. Our primary goal is to address public health issues by providing pet care services. Pets benefit the elderly by providing them love and companionship, while also keeping them happy and active. Thus, by maintaining pet health, we hope to improve the lives of animals and humans alike. We plan to provide items and services in the form of: pet food and supplies, vaccinations, medicine for sick animals, and spays and neuters for unaltered pets.

We are a registered SC public charity and 501(c)3 Private Foundation.

Want to get involved?

Any help from the community is greatly appreciated! Here is a list of items and services that would help our efforts:

  • Climate-controlled and secure storage unit (preferably on Daniel Island)
  • Outdoor electrical outlet to power the refrigerator in our ambulance, until ours is functioning
  • Dog and cat food
  • Medical supplies
  • Cat litter
  • Dog and cat bedding
  • Flea and heartworm prevention
  • Monetary donations

Donations are being collected at Daniel Island Animal Hospital or though our online fundraising page at GoFundMe:

Sentinel is Back!

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We can hardly believe it ourselves, but Sentinel is back on the market and in stock at our hospital! Even better - the price point has dropped dramatically making it a more affordable options for our clients. We are now selling a 6 month supply of Sentinel for $40-60 (based on weight) plus a $10 mail-in rebate.

Why We Love Sentinel

Sentinel is our doctor's best recommendation for canine parasite control because in addition to heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm protection, it has the added benefit of a flea "birth control". This component, lufenuron, has stood the test of time as the best foundation for a flea-free home. Sentinel can be used as a stand-alone monthly preventative, but because Charleston provides the perfect playground for fleas, we recommend adding an flea "adulticide" (like Frontline Plus or Comfortis) to the regimen for complete coverage.

Our Doctors Recommend:

Sentinel + Frontline Plusfor owners who want to protection against ticks or prefer topical flea control.

~or~

Sentinel + Comfortisfor owners who do not have a tick concern and prefer oral medication.

Cats and Other Dog Products

We continue to recommend monthly Revolution for all cats, including our indoor-only patients. This is a topical flea/intestinal parasite/heartworm prevention. We also now carry Seresto, an 8 month flea and tick collar for cats for added protection.

If you prefer other products on the market, we're happy to help you sift through the options. Products that our doctors approve of, but have chosen not to carry in our hospital, can be found on our online pharmacy: ePetHealth. This includes heartworm and flea preventions such as Trifexis, Heartgard Plus, Program, and Advantage.