Tail Vaccination in Cats: Protection Against Cancer?

Because the tail vaccination research was only a pilot study, in my book, it does not contain enough information to change feline vaccination protocol — yet. However, it does raise an interesting idea. Hopefully, a funding agency will see the importance of a larger-scale clinical trial that looks at the safety, efficacy and validity of tail vaccination in cats and will fund a trial that includes enough cats to make a strong and definitive scientific recommendation. From a patient stress standpoint, the pilot study also showed that slightly more cats had minimal to no reaction to tail vaccination compared to vaccination in the hind leg, but more study is needed to confirm that finding.

We need to keep in mind that even though the data in the pilot study about tail vaccination was encouraging, larger studies do not always draw the same conclusion as a pilot study. At a time when many researchers and scientists are looking ever more critically at the conclusions drawn by even major studies, I think caution is called for.

So for now, following existing guidelines would seem to be the best approach. Veterinarians and cat owners alike will wait and hope for scientifically confirmed news about whether the tail is a better vaccination site that can still offer adequate vaccine protection to our cats against infectious disease while helping to prevent cancer. Until then, I, for one, plan to continue following the existing protocol.

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