To Titer or Not to Titer.
We get asked questions about dog health issues daily but should point out, despite our experience in animal care, we are NOT Vet’s. We are always very careful to point out the difference between what we consider fact ..and what is in fact …just our opinion. Hopefully allowing you to make an informed choice. YOUR choice.
So, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate? It’s become a contentious and confusing topic of late, with many pet owners worrying about the issues around and consequences of over/under vaccinating and potentially putting their animals at risk.
The confusion is evident when you google ‘should I vaccinate my dog’. In our results, the first article alarmingly pointed out that puppy shots might not work and some dogs fail to become immune or vaccines can fail. Next up is strongly worded article from an owner who believes we are in the middle of an epidemic of chronic illness caused by over-vaccination.
The widely accepted school of thought is that our pets should be vaccinated as puppy’s and then receive an annual booster every 12 months.
So who do we trust?
On a personal note, I do get concerned about the chemicals we pump into our animals. Recently, one of my own pets had a reaction to a well-known flea treatment and the guilt I felt at having administered it was tremendous. That being said, no one wants an animal riddled with fleas and ticks! Vaccines are a miracle of science, very few debate that (actually some do but that is a whole other discussion, one I am not touching!).
So what is an owner to do? Even the veterinary advice we get varies, some insist on boosters every year, some every three years and now there is a third wave of advice …Titer Testing.
If you take your pup to the vet’s and ask if they need vaccinating, the vet has no way of knowing other than basing the decision on when the last round of vaccines or boosters were given. The variables in breed, size and lots of other factors, mean that every dog holds immunity for different lengths of times. It is a rock and a hard place …risk over or under vaccinating …what to do?
Titer testing offers a middle ground. A quick blood test and the vet can measure the antibody levels and make a more informed decision of whether a booster/vaccine is needed or not. If he decides it isn't necessary the Vet can then issue a certificate which is the equivalent of the vaccination record boarding kennels need when you check your pet in. As an aside, it is super handy if you deal with rescues or pets with lapsed vaccination programmes.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? To muddy the waters though, here are a few things to consider
Will your pet insurance cover you and accept a valid Titer certificate as an alternative to a vaccination record?
Will your boarding kennel accept a Titer?
Does your vet offer the service and how expensive is it?
You may pay for the test and then have to pay for the boosters too, increasing the expense.
There is some evidence/thought that suggests Titer testing does not give a full picture of immunity and should be used alongside 3 yearly vaccinations despite the results.
Finally …how to pronounce it?!?! TIGHTER ..TEETER??
Phew …tricky stuff huh?. We hope you weren’t looking for a definitive answer!
Here, at Lynwood Kennel’s we think it is YOUR decision and there is lots to read out there. That is why we accept both and make no judgement on what is YOUR choice and welcome your pet regardless x