On November 18, 2010, Chicken had a hairball. It’s a cat thing. As I petted Chicken to comfort her, I noticed a very large lump on the back of her neck in her scruff. I was immediately alarmed at its size especially since I had just brushed her down not two weeks before and felt nothing.
I googled “mass between cat’s shoulder blades”. Don’t ever do that. It’s really scary. The words ‘feline vaccine associated sarcoma’ kept showing up. That means cancer. Cancer from a vaccine. A vaccine she had been given to keep her healthy? That doesn’t make sense. How could I have never even heard of this before? That is the million dollar question.
I made an immediate phone call to my vet, Dr. Doris Lawrence of Cat Calls, and left a message. It was 9 pm at night.
Dr. Lawrence called me back the next morning. We made an appointment for the following Tuesday, Nov. 23. She told me not to worry as vaccine associated sarcoma was very rare and this was probably just a fatty mass.
On November 23, Dr. Lawrence examined Chicken. As she felt the lump, her face fell. She said that I should make an appointment with a specialist.
I met with Dr. Michele Muldoon, a board certified surgeon who works at Care Center, on December 1, 2010 at 4 p.m. She felt the lump and said that it was most likely vaccine associated sarcoma (VAS). She said that the mass was still somewhat movable and that this was good news. She said that Chicken needed an aggressive surgery to remove the tumor. We scheduled the surgery for the very next day. She explained that VAS is a very aggressive cancer with a high recurrence rate and that it had spindle cells that often “branched out” to other parts of the body very quickly. I left Chicken at the Care Center so she could be prepped for surgery the next day. I felt so terrible leaving her there, but the best defense against VAS is being aggressive.