South Texas Veterinary Associates, Inc. (DBA Santa Fe Animal Hospital of Corpus Christi, Texas) vs. Jena Gonzalez
Gary D. Norsworthy, DVM, DABVP (Feline)
Below is the paper written by Gary Norsworthy, DVM, regarding Vaccine Associated Sarcoma in which his paper refers to as "Injection Site Sarcoma".  I obtained his paper from the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners Freedom of Information request.  Norsworthy presented this information to the Board on October 30, 2012.  This is also information that he presents at various veterinary conferences across the United States, some of which are sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.  Boehringer Ingelheim is the manufacturer of feline vaccines which have been known to cause Vaccine Associated Sarcoma in some cats.  

Melissa's cat, Neige, is a VAS amputee.
Melissa Cline is the proud owner of Neige. She lost her leg to vaccine-associated sarcoma in 2009. Her VAS was believed to be the result of a rabies vaccine she received the year before, when she'd accidentally received a three-year rabies vaccine two years in a row. She is still alive, but her left leg and upwards of $10K in vet bills is a high price to pay for a vaccine that she didn't need.

Melissa Cline, Project Scientist in Cancer Genomics, Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, University of California at Santa Cruz, has reviewed Norsworthy's paper and has provided the following rebuttal....

First, let me summarize Dr. Norsworthy's paper, which amounts to a
literature review augmented by his own data. First, he says that the
connection between VAS and inflammation is a hypothesis, not a fact.
This doesn't surprise me, for two reasons.  First, in the life sciences, nothing is called a fact unless it meets a pretty lofty standard of evidence.  Second, the only parties who'd have the resources to do this sort of work are the vaccine makers, and they're
not going to publish work stating that their products lead to cancer.

Dr. Norsworthy also states that lumping all adjuvanted vaccines together is misleading, because there are many different compounds that have been used as adjuvants (he lists 35), and one cannot tell what adjuvants are used in any given vaccine because that's proprietary information.  That's a reasonable and interesting point.

Then he cites work that suggests that there is a genetic component to VAS.  I don't think anyone would disagree with that.

Next he cites some work stating that the rate of VAS has decreased dramatically since the mid-1990s.  He bases this on mid-1990s estimates from Dr. Macy 22,000 cats in the US would develop VAS, contrasted against a 2002 study (Gobar et al), that estimated the rate of VAS to be 0.63 per 10,000 vaccinated cats.  I have a couple issues with this Gobar study.  First, it was based on results of veterinarians reporting the rate of VAS they saw in a web form.  There are many psychological reasons why veterinarians wouldn't report their VAS cases, even if they could do so anonymously.  Second, it turns out that the results came from just 40 veterinarians.  There were 160 veterinarians who started in the study but dropped out along the way. That to me is another red flag.  In summary, Dr. Norsworthy points to a difference between Dr. Macy's estimate of 22,000 cats likely to get VAS in the mid-1990s, and an estimated 2,000 that get VAS based on estimates from the Golub study, and uses those numbers to suggest that VAS is now a rare disease, probably due to changes in the vaccines.

Finally, Dr. Norsworthy goes on to report the results from his own practice.  If I read his data correctly, in the past 11 years he's had one case of VAS out of a grand total of 61,352 vaccinations administered.  If that's true, it's great, but it's also heresay.

In summary, he says that VAS is now a rare disease, caused by a rare genetic predisposition in a few cats, that it makes little difference whether or not the vaccine was adjuvanted, and that we should stop panicking so much about it.

That brings us to the Wilcock 2012 paper, which comes from a  PEER REVIEWED journal, the Canadian Veterinary Journal.  They report VAS rates studied over the past 19 years, as reported by one pathologist, who assesses biopsies from 800 clinics across Canada.  They see no change in the rate of VAS over the past 19 years, despite changes in the vaccine technology.  They have specific criticisms about the Golub study, the one Dr. Norsworthy uses to claim that VAS has become a rare disease.  If What Dr. Norsworthy says is true, then it leaves a big question about why these authors didn't see a decrease in the rate of VAS, in their (much more respectable and weighty) article.

So, the recent, peer-reviewed article directly contradicts Dr. Norsworthy's review.

email to Kevin Sexton
Mr. Sexton lost his beloved cat, Stimpy, to Vaccine Associated Sarcoma now being called Injection Site Sarcoma.  Stimpy received vaccines manufactured by Boehringer Ingleheim that caused the VAS.  You can read Stimpy's story here:
Boehringer Ingelheim sent a letter to Mr. Sexton dated June 14, 2011, as notification that they donated $10,000 to the Kobi Fund in honor of Mr. Sexton and Stimpy. In a subsequent letter dated January 10, 2012, from BI, making reference to another $5,000 donation to the Kobi Fund, explained the details of their educational campaign.  This is the part I find most interesting, the letter states, "As part of this effort, we also provide tools to veterinarians and their staff members to help them address the issue of the risks and benefits of vaccines. Of course, addressing injection site sarcoma is part of this message".  Scroll down to see the actual letters.
Now here is the problem...Gary Norsworthy, DVM, is speaking at the Western Veterinary Conference being held February 17-21, 2013, and BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM VETMEDICA is the SPONSOR!  But this is the real kicker; Norsworthy will be discussing "Vaccine Associated Sarcomas," a misnomer.  A misnomer is a word or term which suggests a meaning that is known to be wrong.

Needless to say Mr. Sexton and ALL who have lost their beloved pets to VAS are a little upset.  Mr. Sexton posted the picture above in a Facebook group and then received the following letter via email.

In case you cannot read the text, here it what it says:

Dear Mr. Sexton:

It has come to our attention that you are currently placing the Western Veterinary Conference’s logo into your website, without our authorization.
I oversee the management of our intellectual property and brand for the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC). We have very strict guidelines as to how and where our intellectual property can be used. We are also aware of the federal laws and regulations of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As such, the unauthorized use or posting must cease immediately.

This letter is to formally request that you immediately cease using our intellectual property and remove all references to it in current and future postings. Moreover, this letter is to formally request that you communicate this information to all relevant persons in your group.

If we continue to see unauthorized use of our intellectual property from your company, we will be prepared to take legal actions against you.

Thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely yours,

Manolita Bisnar Moore, MBA
Annual Conference Director

Western Veterinary Conference
2425 E. Oquendo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89120

Tel: 702-739-6698
Fax: 702-739-6420

Letter dated June 14, 2011
Stimpy and her large Vaccine Associated Sarcoma
Boehringer Ingelheim Letter page 1
Boehringer Ingelheim Letter page 2
I have contacted all the groups listed below and expressed my concern stating, "I am a concerned pet owner and lost my cat to VAS on 2.14.11.  I am very concerned that Dr. Norsworthy does not have relevant unbiased data or continuing education on VAS/ISS to support his seminars on this subject.  I would very much like to see his data and professional journal articles that make him qualified to speak on this subject.  Presenting this information could put more of our pets at risk for this horrible cancer".

These are the replies I received....
Wild West, Bruce Dozier "Jena-what is your connection to this, are you a DVM, concerned pet owner?  Before we take any action, I need to know what your connection is?"
Valerie Goodwin - Adams Abaxis, Inc. Director, Marketing - Veterinary Medicine - "Please take us off of your emailing list."  Abaxis published this article:  The Sarcoma That Wasn't  by Gary Norsworthy, DVM - owner of Alamo Feline Health Center, San Antonio, TX.

It is disturbing the complete apathy of these large veterinary conferences, but of course they are all sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.

Ethical conduct in science assures the reliability of research results and the safety of research subjects.
Ethics in science include:
a) standards of methods and process that address research design, procedures, data analysis, interpretation, and reporting; and
b) standards of topics and findings that address the use of human and animal subjects in research.
Replication, collaboration, and
c) peer review all help to minimize ethical breaches, and identify them when they do occur.

Wild West Mountain States Veterinary Conference 2012
October 17-21, 2012
Reno Nevada
Saturday, October 20, 2012
3:30 PM to 5:00 PM

Vaccine Associated Sarcomas: Severe Misconceptions We Have Bought
Not only is the term VAS inappropriate, but the relationship of injection site sarcomas to adjuvanted vaccines is often severely distorted. Dr. Norsworthy will show data from the literature and from his patients to help you see this problem from a different perspective.

Western Veterinary Conference
February 17-21, 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada

Infectious Disease Symposium: This lecture will trace the beginnings of the concept that "Vaccine Associated Sarcomas," a misnomer, are caused exclusively by vaccines and that adjuvanted vaccines are the real culprit. It will show, through the literature, that they are really a happening in rare, genetically-prone cats that are likely to have an aberrant reaction to many injectable products. Dr. Norsworthy will conclude by revealing 10 year statistics from his feline-only practice. Part 3 of 4.

North American Veterinary Conference
January 19-23, 2013
Orlando FL
1:45-2:35 PM
Injection-Site Sarcomas: A Confusing Topic, by Gary Norsworthy, DVM

East Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association Annual Conference
October 6th-7th, 2012
Injection Site Sarcomas: Facts and Fiction- By Gary Norsworthy, DVM

Capital Area VMA - Austin, Texas
NOVEMBER 20 (3rd Tuesday)
"Injection Site Sarcomas: More Data but Still Confusion"
Dr. Gary Norsworthy
Sponsored by Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica

I took this information from the WVC website.  Norsworthy will be speaking on Vaccine Associated Sarcomas at other major veterinary conferences throughout the United States during the next six months.
Western Veterinary Conference
February 17-21, 2013
Audience: Veterinarian
Program Type: Symposium
CE Hours: 1
RACE Approved: PENDING Description
Infectious Disease Symposium: This lecture will trace the beginnings of the concept that "Vaccine Associated Sarcomas," a misnomer, are caused exclusively by vaccines and that adjuvanted vaccines are the real culprit. It will show, through the literature, that they are really a happening in rare, genetically-prone cats that are likely to have an aberrant reaction to many injectable products. Dr. Norsworthy will conclude by revealing 10 year statistics from his feline-only practice. Part 3 of 4. Speaker(s)
Gary Norsworthy, DVM, Dipl. ABVP (Feline)
Alamo Feline Health Center, San Antonio Texas

In the journal below is an article written by Gary Norsworthy, DVM, The Sarcoma That Wasn't, pgs. 16-18.  I have written the following email to the publisher and conference facilitators and am waiting for their reply.

It has been brought to my attention that Gary Norsworthy, DVM, will be conducting various seminars at each of your conferences.  I am particularly concerned about the information he will be presenting on Vaccine Associated Sarcomas and the authenticity of his data.  For example,I received the current issue of VetCom (attached) and was wondering what kind of research is conducted to check for authenticity of data before publishing articles? The Sarcoma That Wasn't, by Gary Norsworthy, is most certainly biased data. Stripes the cat was first seen and overvaccinated by Norsworthy on 7.12.11 and a year later he is declared "lucky" because he didn't get an ISS. Vaccine Associated Sarcomas (ISS) can manifest three years or longer after a vaccine injection. Norsworthy's article doesn't indicate that he followed the same cats for any length of time which makes the fact that he has given 61,000 injections irrelevant to VAS. Although, it would be relevant to determine how much money he makes from Boehringer Ingelheim which also sponsors his seminars at some conferences. I also find it ironic that Boehringer Ingelheim supports him in this propaganda considering they pay thousands to cat owners for the care and treatment of their cats who are diagnosed with VAS after receiving one of their vaccines. I would also like to note that BI is NOT the only vaccine manufacturer to pay for the care and treatment of pets that develop VAS from vaccines. BI also donated $10,000 to the Kobi Fund For Vaccine Associated Sarcoma in honor of Stimpy (Kevin Sexton's cat) who lost her battle to VAS last year after receiving a BI vaccine. I also recommend you complete your own research before publishing articles/allowing presentations. After researching Vaccine Associated Sarcoma I cannot find any data that corroborates Norsworthy's claims. By allowing Norsworthy to present information without factual data compiled and tested by unbiased teams you are exposing thousands of pet family members to serious injury or death.  Norsworthy is also very outspoken that he vaccinates and "boosters annually until he sees "hard evidence" not to".  This is in direct conflict with pet vaccine recommendations that have been in place for more than ten years. As I am sure you are aware, veterinarians are not required to report adverse vaccine events and the majority do not.  For research purposes this makes it very difficult to determine a factual number of VAS diagnoses.  I hope you will seriously reconsider his Vaccine Associated Sarcoma (ISS) presentations.  I am also requesting that you send me a copy of his presentation and data for review or at least the references he cites.  Please feel free to leave your opinion on this matter.
If you have pet insurance and your cat becomes ill with Vaccine Associated Sarcoma it may not be covered.  Read this clause I found in several pet insurance companies.  The only non-adjuvanted vaccine I know of is Merial PUREVAX® and not many vets use it.
Feline Vaccine-Associated Sarcoma (FVS)
The Insurer will reimburse the Insured for the actual cost of required veterinary treatment for feline vaccine-associated sarcoma. The diagnosis must be confirmed via Histopathology. The claim will be paid to the policy maximum, provided that the Insured pet has received exclusively non-adjuvanted feline vaccination. Vaccine exclusivity means that the last series of feline vaccines was non-adjuvanted and given prior to the diagnosis of feline vaccine associated sarcoma.  A claim form completed in part by the Insured and in part by the veterinarian accompanied by the pathology  laboratory report and the original receipts that have been paid in full are required to process the Insured’s claim.
I just spoke to my sister who lives in New York.  Her mother in law's six year old cat was just diagnosed with Vaccine Associated Sarcoma or Injection Site Sarcoma.  She took her cat to Banfield Pet Hospital and spent $600 on the biopsy.  And they say this is rare?  Please send me your story.