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Vaccine Associated Sarcomas (VAS) or Injection Site Fibrosarcomas - are a type of cancer caused by vaccines. Vaccines containing adjuvant, a component to stimulate the immune system, are at least 5 times more likely to cause a VAS. 
VAS is 100% fatal if the tumor is between the shoulder blades. With surgical removal, radiation therapy and chemotherapy survival time is less than 3 years. If the tumor is in the distal part of the rear leg, amputation, plus radiation, & chemo may be curative in 20% of cases.

Non - Adjuvanted vaccines are available for cats for all preventable diseases including Rabies, Distemper, Rhinotracheitis, Calici virus and Feline Leukemia, and are considered safer.

Intranasal Vaccines are safer.
The AVMA VAS Task Force recommends, to reduce the risk of VAS:
#1. reduced vaccination schedules, 
#2. vaccination in the distal hind limb,  and 
#3  intranasal and non-adjuvanted vaccines.

Core vaccines recommended for all cats.


Initial series

>12 weeks

1st Annual




Purevac Merial *non- adjuvanted


16 weeks






Every 3 years


* 3 year license pending

PLP Distemper


8, 12, 16 weeks

2 injections 3 – 4 weeks apart

Yes   Provides lifetime


Not recommended




8, 12, 16 weeks

2 injections

3 – 4 weeks apart


Every three years with intranasal

 Vaccination only reduces severity of symptoms, & not carrier state

bullet For comments on DOI and the 3- year compromise see the dog vaccinations.

Non-core vaccines recommended only for at risk cats.

*Since the future exposure of a kitten is hard to determine, vaccination of all kittens is recommended.

Feline Leukemia

9 & 12 weeks

2 injections 3 – 4 weeks apart


High risk cats only

High risk cats

TAMU- every three years

Age related immunity

>1 year of age is 87%

*Testing and avoiding exposure of cats less than 1 year of age is more effective in elimination of FeLv than vaccination.

Not Recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and 22 Schools of Veterinary Medicine

FIV Feline immuno- suppressive virus – the vaccine is adjuvanted and an initial 3 dose series is recommended. The vaccine contains Clades A & D of the FIV virus. The predominate Clade causing disease in the US is Clade B. Cross protection is poor. The AAFP asked the USDA CVM not to license this vaccine. Vaccination will result in false positive testing. 
Cats with FIV can live many years without symptoms, cats with VAS don’t.
Kittens can show a false positive test due to maternal antibodies up to 6 months of age.

FIP Feline Infectious Peritonitis FIP is a very rare disease. 85% of cats have the non- pathogenic Enteric corona virus. Rarely this virus mutates to cause FIP. Every mutation is a unique virus. The vaccine only contains the vicinal virus and cross protection to each mutation is poor. There is a theory of vaccine-enhanced disease. 
Independent studies have shown no efficacy for this vaccine. 
*There is no test that is specific for FIP. Enteric corona virus will cause a 
 + test in 85% of cats 
High titers do not correlate with FIP disease.

Bordetella This is primarily a disease of kittens, found in shelters and associated with poor sanitation. The vaccine is recommended only in shelters with a problem and where Bordetella has been shown to be a causative agent. Bordetella has been shown to be normal flora in adult cats.

Dr Michael Lappin at Colorado State, an expert in Feline respiratory disease, has not seen a case in 10 years.

Side effects, including sneezing affect 5%of cats vaccinated.

Chlamydia or Pnuemonitis- This is a rare disease, and is easily treated. Vaccination only provides 2 months protection. Vaccination can be useful to stop an outbreak in a cattery.


Feline Dermatophyte Infection, or Ringworm – Independent studies have demonstrated no efficacy in the prevention or as an aid in elimination of ringworm.

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