WEDNESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Giving vaccinations to cats in their tails might save their legs, a new study suggests.
"One to 10 cats out of every 10,000 vaccinated against infectious diseases develop cancer at the vaccine injection site," Julie Levy, a professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, said in a university news release.
"It's still important to vaccinate because death from these infections is much more common than the cancer, but unfortunately this complication is one that does affect thousands of cats each year," she added.
Currently, injections are given below the knee joint of the leg, with the understanding that amputation is the most effective treatment for cancer near vaccination sites. However, many owners reject amputation because it is expensive, disfiguring and painful.
This study examined administering vaccinations in the tip of a cat's tail and found that it appeared to be as effective as giving shots at traditional sites. Tail vaccination would make surgical treatment of cancer near vaccine sites much easier and less disfiguring, the researchers said.
This could encourage more owners to have their cats treated for cancer, according to the authors of the study recently published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
The Humane Society of the United States has more about vaccination-related cancer in cats.
SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, Oct. 31, 2013