Vaccine Titer Testing:
Vaccine Titer Testing: What Is It and Will It Affect Your Decision to Vaccinate?
How can you prevent over-vaccination in your dog or cat and still be assured they are protected? By using Titer Tests before making the decision to vaccinate.
A titer test is a simple blood test. Antigens are any substance that the immune system identifies as an invader and responds to by producing a chemical defense known as antibodies. A "titer" is a measurement of how much antibody to a certain antigen is circulating in the blood at that moment. The result is usually expressed in a ratio.
A dog or cat who has received "core" vaccines and who displays a positive antibody titer test result should be considered protected from the diseases for which he was vaccinated, meaning, he doesn't need vaccines at that time. The only exception is with rabies. While titer testing is available for rabies, there is currently no state that routinely accepts a titer test in lieu of the rabies vaccine, which is required by law. However, a positive titer test accompanied by a letter from your veterinarian may be accepted by some agencies in those cases where a vaccine would put your animal at great risk. For instance, an animal with a previous Rabies vaccine reaction or one that is dealing with a serious illness could be dangerously compromised by a new vaccine. If you have any concerns we would definitely recommend you discuss this with Dr. Peggy.
While some veterinarians may be resistant to titer testing in lieu of vaccination, research over the past 10 years has shown that once an animal’s titer stabilizes, it is likely to remain constant for many years. In fact published studies in refereed journals show that 92 to 98% of dogs and cats that have been properly vaccinated develop good, measurable antibody titers that last a minimum of 7 to 9 years and are very likely present for life.
Several commercial and university veterinary diagnostic labs offer reliable titer testing for dogs, cats, and horses. We utilize Hemopet, a highly respected lab founded by Dr. Jean Dodds, one of the foremost experts on vaccines.
While the cost of titer testing is more expensive than simply giving a vaccine, it is still very reasonable. Especially when you consider that more and more studies are confirming the high cost of over-vaccinating to the general health and longevity of our companion animals. These concerns make titer testing one of the animal lovers’ greatest friends. Protecting your animal companions from unnecessary assaults on their immune systems will help ensure you enjoy many happy, healthy years together.