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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 9 August 2002 Issue


In October of 1996 we took Sylvia to our Vet of 14 years for her annual physical.  Our "Family" at the time, consisted of 2 indoor cats, 3 dogs and 2 birds.  My wife and I have always prided ourselves in providing the very best in medical care for our "Family," preventative and otherwise.  Being indoor cats, the only vaccine that we have administered, is the upper respiratory vaccination.

Several weeks after Sylvia's physical, we noticed a small lump on her back between her shoulder blades. Concerned, we contacted our Vet who informed us that it was not too unusual for a cat to have a reaction to a vaccination that resulted in a small lump.  We were informed also, that it might take several weeks to disappear.  After several weeks had passed, the lump had not only not gone away, it was growing quite rapidly.  We again contacted our vet who asked that we bring Sylvia in right away.

We took Sylvia to see our Vet on a Friday afternoon, not quite sure what to expect.  One look at our Vet's face changed our lives FOREVER.  Our Vet was quite sure that Sylvia's lump was not a worry free reaction to her vaccination.  What we learned, was that there was the possibility that this "lump" could be a Post Vaccination Fibro sarcoma, a cancerous growth DIRECTLY related to her vaccination.  We could tell by the look on our Vet's face that she was VERY concerned, and she requested that Sylvia have blood work and x-rays taken that same day.  Our vet also scheduled an appointment for the following Monday for a surgical biopsy to be performed.

On a Monday afternoon, I took Sylvia to our Vet to have the 15-minute procedure performed.  She informed us that the results of the biopsy would take about 5-7 days to come back, but that she had a Vet Tech who would be able to give us an initial reading of the biopsy that day.  When I received the call that evening, our worst fears came true, it looked like cancer.

While we waited for the biopsy results to come back from the lab, I spent days, going into weeks on the Internet, seeking information about this type of cancer that few seemed to know much about.  What I have learned hopefully will inspire you to take action in making educated decisions concerning the health care of your beloved felines.

After consulting with our four Vet's and MUCH soul searching, we decided to go ahead with the surgery 7 days after Sylvia's initial diagnosis.  We were referred locally to a surgical specialist that had dealt with this type of cancer numerous times.  The surgery lasted about and hour, and she was kept in ICU overnight.  We picked up our oldest "child" early the next morning, having been warned of how the incision would appear.  This is a very invasive procedure, and the incision stretched approximately 8 inches across her back, side to side, behind her shoulder blades.

To be very honest with you, Sylvia's recovery from surgery was VERY difficult for her and us, but we are delighted with the amount of "quality" time that our family was able to enjoy cuddling together over these past 14 months.

So far we have learned much in this part of our life's journey, and our hope is that someone reading our journey will be moved to ASK QUESTIONS of their Vet.  If your Vet tells you that the risk of your feline contracting this type of cancer is insignificant, you are being misinformed.  I don't care what anyone says, when you become the "1" in whatever odds, the odds don't matter anymore.

I'll leave you with this request, PLEASE help our family to spread the message of this dreaded disease. I will continue to carry on our dear girls heartfelt effort with the loving inspiration that she continues to fill my heart with.

For more information please visit the following website:


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