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October 24, 2013

Don’t give cat more vaccinations

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: I read your column faithfully every week and appreciate the sound advice you offer your readers. I’m especially drawn to the holistic nature of your advice and was wondering if you might be able to help me with my cat, Blue.

Blue is an adorable flame point siamese mix. He’s 8 or 9 years old, an indoor cat, extremely healthy (although a little overweight) and has only one issue, really: a growth on his right hind leg.

I discovered this growth in March 2011 and took him to the vet for a biopsy that showed no malignancy. Since Blue is getting up in years and the growth doesn’t seem to bother him, I decided not to have it removed. But I also proceeded to comb the Internet for information regarding the connection between feline vaccines and fibrosarcoma — something that scares me.

Even though the biopsy showed no malignancy, I’m concerned that the growth may still be there due to the rabies booster Blue had in August 2009.

Consequently, when he was due for his next booster in July 2012, I took him to a vet to see if she could run a rabies titer before giving the vaccine. Unfortunately, the vet didn’t draw enough blood, so the test was never run. I decided against giving him the vaccine at that time.

Since it’s now been four years since Blue’s last rabies booster, I’m wondering how to best proceed from here. Should I have him vaccinated or should I try to have another titer run first? I’ve already decided against any additional FVRCP vaccines but am concerned about the rabies.

— L.W., Pine Plains, N.Y.

Dear L.W: Because of the growth at the vaccination injection site, it is evidence enough of vaccinosis, a vaccine-induced disease or adverse reaction. Your cat may well develop a similar reaction when a repeat vaccination is given, and there is no guarantee that the growth will not turn out to be malignant.

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