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"It only happens to 1 in a thousand cats"

That was the message I received from someone who obviously believes everything he has read on the Internet about VAS. He went on to ask if I have even bothered to research VAS.

I will excuse his ignorance because it is just that...ignorance. One in a thousand, one in ten thousand. This is what the pharmaceutical industry publishes. Being a member of a VAS support group that has nearly 1700 members, I am sad to say that we have multiple members who have had 2 or even 3 cats stricken with VAS. That alone proves the numbers they report are inaccurate.

VAS is under reported sadly. The pharmaceutical industry does little to nothing to change things. There is no reporting system, they do not warn you about this cancer and sadly, rarely does your veterinarian warn you about it. Just recently, Boehringer Ingelheim has stated on their new website for pets, that their vaccines can cause cancer and their vaccines can kill your cat. I like to think it is because of my efforts by staying on top of them that they finally have implemented this. They of course downplay it by calling it "rare" but at least it is a step forward.

Stimpy's VAS was confirmed by her biopsies. Stimpy was a healthy cat until she was hit with VAS. She had normal liver, kidney and heart functions. I truly believe Stimpy would be with me today if not for this VAS. Many cats have lived past 20 years. Stimpy was in good enough health before the VAS to have gone on to live a much longer life. For this person to make a comment about her being old is just plain stupid. This person wrote:

"for christ's sake, you had a 16-year-old cat who died of cancer. spoiler alert: that happens. get another cat and shut the hell up.

through this whole experience, have you ever bothered to research VAS? at worst, it only happens to 1 in a thousand cats (so yours was just unlucky that it was this particular cancer she got at the end of her very long life) - how many cats do you think are vaccinated w/ BI products every year? do they all get VAS?

further, it can happen w/ vaccines or antibiotics manufactured by any company (or even sterile water, so it seems to rely more on injection technique than any particular medication). why blame this one? again, you had a REALLY old cat, so w/ that in mind, why blame anyone?"

Like I said, I will excuse David's ignorance of the topic because he has not experienced the devastation that VAS causes. I'm afraid I am all too well educated in the field of VAS, I know more about it than most veterinarians and the big pharma.

Stimpy's VAS was confirmed by her biopsies. It was clearly stated it was vaccine associated. We know without a doubt that her cancer was caused by the Rabvac 3TF vaccination. It was the only vaccine she received in that leg and it was veriified with prior vet records.

David went on to criticize me for spending over $40,000 on Stimpy's care. First off, it is no ones business how much money I spent on her care. It was my money, Stimpy was a living animal, and she deserved the care since I could afford it. We do not throw people away or kill them when they get sick. I looked at Stimpy in the same manner. Cancer is a crap shoot, in animals and humans. She deserved the chance to live so I gave it to her. I have no regrets.

"you claim to have spent $25K  (his understanding, I guess he didn't actually read the journal) treating a cat for what is generally accepted to be a no-win situation (your vet would already know this, and if s/he is the least bit ethical, not take your money / treat the patient). i really hope you didn't spend that money, but IF you did, you could have helped a whole lot more cats w/ better prognoses than yours had, so... way to go?"

VAS is NOT generally accepted as a no win situation. Another statement by David that proves he is ignorant on the subject matter. I made the choice to treat Stimpy, not my veterinarian. It was a no brainer, there was a chance she would beat VAS and I did not care how much it cost, I was going to give her that chance. Thanks to education and more exposure, new guidelines have been implemented in vaccination areas so in the case a sarcoma does form, it is easier to treat. I have known a lot of victims of VAS, and thankfully, I have known of survivors...Molly, Job, Rusty, Chicken (who later passed away from a non VAS related cause). I could name more, just like I could name many victims. My point is, there are survivors and there are victims, just like with humans. Education and early detection are key to combating VAS.

David criticizes me for spending that much money on Stimpy, because I could have helped other cats. You do not know me David, and if you did, you would know that I have been very generous in helping others  when it comes to helping their pets when they could not afford it. You make an assumption purely out of ignorance. Bottom line though, it is no one's business how I choose to spend my money.

David also criticized me for publishing the home addresses of the powers that be at these big pharma. Until your cat has been stricken with VAS and you have to deal with these pharmaceutical companies, do not criticize me for taking them on in an effective manner. Generally, they treat us with contempt. They ignore your letters, they offer you nothing to compensate you for the high cost of care that was caused by their product. The big pharma basically blackmailed the US government into protection against liability for their vaccines by telling them they would produce no vaccines for the food chain unless they were given these protections. It trickled down into the pet ownership area as well, so as a victim, you are not allowed to sue them. They in turn, do not have to act humanely towards you and they basically tell you to go to hell. Boehringer Ingelheim ignored EVERY letter I sent them for nearly a year. It was not until I wrote to their CEO at his home did they finally respond.

David said that they have a right to privacy and not have their information published. Well, I guess while he is on his "holier than thou" campaign, he should also write to the places on the Internet where I easily found their contact information. It is all part of the public domain, I just knew where to look. In an attempt to intimidate me, he also wrote:

"i don't think anyone likes having their information published w/o their permission
or do they? are you the kevin gale sexton of NW 57th street or bent tree dr in oklahoma city? are you really going to be buried next to your mother in arlington memory gardens? i love my mom, but that's pretty bizarre. i know you're screening these, so if you absolutely can't imagine why people wouldn't want their personal information published w/o permission, you should let this comment appear. here's a hint: some might call it harassment."

You got part of it correct, my name is Kevin Sexton. The rest, well, you are desperately grasping at straws. The difference between David and myself is that I verify my information so as not to make a fool of myself. Harassment? Well, David, these big pharma have a moral obligation to accept responsibility for their actions. I have never been one to sit back and not take action when there is something wrong. Sometimes, you have to take drastic steps to bring about change. If and when these big pharma start acting responsibly, that is the day I will say "thank you" and I will leave them alone. Until you have been where I have been, as well as many other thousands, do not tell me or others that our actions are inappropriate. You have no idea what you are talking about.

And finally, in response to your closing statement:

"dude. get another cat. you'll feel better."

I do have other cats. I have four wonderful cats, all rescues, as well as a dog that is also a rescue. They enrich my life and if one of them gets sick, I will gladly spend any amount of money to take care of them too. I do not expect you to understand my actions or any of the feelings that we as VAS victims (human and animal) experience, but simply put, I do not care. I do not need your approval.

In closing, I just want to clarify why I have closed comments for the journal. Some people just want to make others miserable by making hateful comments. It is a reflection on their lives and things that are going on in their world, but Stimpy is too special to give people like this a forum to express their own misery.



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