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Titer Testing Your Dog: Are You Wasting Your Money?

titer test dogI’m seeing a potentially dangerous trend among animal owners in pursuit of avoiding vaccinations, a laudable goal. That same trend can cost you needless money, so gather round, and let’s explore this.

Cheryl wrote in the comments to last week’s post:

One of my furbabies is a little Chihuahua named Ricco who has an enormous amount of skin issues and allergies. When I discovered he had been to about 4 different households in his life before me, I realized that his issues are more than likely due to vaccinosis. He is now slowly on the mend and all my furbabies now get yearly titers. (italics mine)

As I alluded to in my Fallacies of Titer Tests page, titers have value, but using the information from them wrongly will:

  • Hurt your animal
  • Hurt your pocketbook

The Dangers of a Little Knowledge

You are part of a growing community of people seeking to provide the best natural care to your animals. You want them to be Vital Animals, those glowing, well-balanced, fully free animals that bring you joy not only today and this week, but for many happy healthy years into the future. And, when it’s time for them to shuffle off their mortal coil, Vital Animals can usually do this at home, with ease, naturally, and without ERs or euthanasia solutions in the equation.

A large part of getting this glorious outcome depends on you walking the Natural Path, and taking responsibility for the animals in your care. It’s no longer in your best interests to turn that responsibility over to Dr. WhiteCoat, as he’s not on the same path, especially in the most important piece of health care you must decide: vaccinations.

Many of you have, rightly, sought to reduce or eliminate vaccinations after reading in various places that the common practice of repeatedly vaccinating your animal throughout her life is neither useful nor safe. One alternative that’s been offered to you is titer testing.

Titers: What, Why, and When?

Titer tests are blood tests that measure the level of antibodies your animal has made. Your dog goes in, gets a needle poked into a vein, blood is pulled into a syringe and it gets tested, usually in a lab but now perhaps, in your vet’s clinic. You pay anywhere from $40 to $200 to get some numbers on a piece of paper.

Many view these numbers as their “get out of vaccination jail” card. But I submit misreading these numbers may get you and your animal into trouble. Let’s dig in and try to avoid that.

The What: Numbers? I Don’ Need No Steenking Numbers!

The lab report comes back with numbers indicating the amount of antibodies your animal made against those diseases tested (usually canine distemper, parvo, rabies, or feline distemper).

The idea behind titer testing is that if your dog or cat or horse has antibodies against the viruses that threaten to cause disease, you can rest easy that protection exists.

That’s an immunologically sound thought. But only to a point.

The Why: Assessing Immunity

The reason these titers could be of interest is that the numbers on a titer test correlate pretty well with immunity. Immunity is resistance to disease. It’s what we’d like our animals to have, and it’s what we hope is the outcome of those much maligned things called vaccinations.

But:

Vaccination does not equal Immunization

Did you know this? It’s not common knowledge, even among many veterinarians. It’s often assumed that pumping the vaccine into your animal automatically means he’s now safe from the dreaded diseases that could kill him. Not so.

For example, if you vaccinate your pup at six weeks of age, or even younger, there’s about a 50:50 chance that no immunity will result to distemper or parvovirus. Why? Mom’s colostrum gave your pup antibodies against both, and those antibodies are preventing the vaccine from stimulating his own immunity. Mom’s protection is temporary though, and we need long term protection.

Many also think that immunity “runs out” on day 364 since the last vaccine was pumped in. When those postcards come, saying, “Beau is due for his vaccinations! Please call for an appointment today!”, it sets some people into a bit of a panic.

The act of squirting more vaccine under Beau’s skin is somehow thought to be akin to filling an empty reservoir.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

A truth in immunology is this:

Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal.”

And another truth, from the same veterinary immunologists:

“Furthermore, revaccination…fails to stimulate…(further immunity)”

The When: Run a Titer When it Makes Sense. Save Your Money (and your pet!) by Not Running it When it Doesn’t!

It’s a given that titers have limits. Any immunologist knows this. They fail to measure a significant piece of immunity, called cell mediated immunity.

The most useful time to run a titer test is after your youngster has received her initial series of vaccinations. Especially if you’ve limited that series to just one or two vaccinations, the last being after 16 weeks of age. The odds are you’ve just conferred lifetime immunity to your youngster.

If you want to know how effective your vaccinations were in conferring immunity (i.e. did vaccination = immunization?), ask your vet to run a titer test a few weeks later.

Here’s what’s useful in assessing those numbers:

If there’s any measurable titer to the disease in question, your goal has been reached. Your youngster has actively made immunity to those viruses you had squirted in via vaccination. It doesn’t need to meet some standard of “protective” to be useful; it just has to be positive.

That indicates you are more than likely now the proud owner of an immune pet, and you can confidently say “No!” to more vaccines. For how long?

For life.

Falling Titers: Oh-oh or No Big Deal?

Testing yearly will eventually show titers that fall off. Does that mean immunity is gone and you’ve got to head in for a “topping up” of the immunity reservoir?

No!

(And stop thinking that a “reservoir” even exists. I actually hesitated writing this word, as I don’t want you to think this is in any way reality).

It only means the antibody levels are waning. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a waste to keep making more antibodies when there’s no exposure to more virus. In its wisdom, the vital force deems its work is done in this area, and stops pumping more antibodies into the blood.

But, the good news is this: cellular memory is still very likely present to the bad guy you vaccinated against and, should your buddy ever be exposed to this virus again, BOOM, the antibody production factory fires up and the titer rises once again, and rather quickly at that.

So, it’d be a mistake to equate a titer that’s fallen with a lack of protection, and a greater one to think you need more vaccinations to re-establish protection. Immunity is still there, quietly, watchfully alert.

[In the older guys, I like to add a nice immune boost in the form of transfer factors, just to be sure their immune systems are acting out of the greatest responsive intelligence. And perhaps that’s a subject for another post.]

Have you used titers? Does this info help? Maybe you’ve even seen this: your animal’s titers kept on increasing for years after you stopped vaccinating! That’s what happened to my colleague’s dog on testing rabies titers. Let us know in the comments.

 

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39 Responses to Titer Testing Your Dog: Are You Wasting Your Money?

  1. Sandie March 10, 2014 at 6:23 PM #

    One needs to know at what amount the titer test turns from negative to positive and do all labs testing Dog serum use the same “titer” to call positive. For instance, in humans, if there are ANY antibodies for measles will turn a test “positive” but the ones that are employed use high titer for positive and lower titer they will call moderate and there are some that if there are some antibodies but not a lot it will call it borderline and assume that borderline titer results need a “booster” shot. Are you saying that if the dog has ANY antibodies then the immune system is immune to that disease and NO vaccination is necessary? Not sure I agree but not sure I disagree just asking!

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine March 11, 2014 at 6:45 PM #

      Hi Sandie
      Immunologist Dr Ronald Schultz advocates that any amount of titer is protective.

  2. Kerstan A. November 15, 2013 at 1:19 PM #

    Wonderful article! :-)

    It feels good to be learning the proper education that will allow my pets to prosper in health, happiness, and longevity!

    I currently do not own any animals [ and this saddens me ], but once I am financially stable and fully able to do so, I know that because of my deep passion for animals [ especially dogs ] and informative people, websites, articles, books, magazines, etc. that I’ll be MORE than educationally ready to naturally rear a pet!

    • Gerry Bishop December 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM #

      Problem is regarding vaccinations,most insurance companies may not cover our pets if their vaccinations are not up to date,so they have us over a barrel so to speak. Sounds like a bit of a conspiracy to me.

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine December 12, 2013 at 4:14 PM #

        Gerry, just put that insurance money away in the bank to save up for an emergency. If you raw feed, forego revaccination, chemicals, drugs and pesticides, you’d likely have money left in the bank when your dogs expires at a healthy old age.

        • Andrew K Fletcher April 8, 2014 at 1:30 PM #

          Re Dog’s naturally. My philosophy is yours, we save our would be insurance money and have done so for many years. Occasionally things go wrong but we are still many £$ in pocket. Besides, if you make a point of telling the vet that your dog is not insured, their prices drop accordingly :)

  3. Brenda Wolf September 13, 2013 at 6:26 PM #

    NOW after I paid for two more months of daycare (only one day per week and just to socialize) they tell me I cannot bring my 18 month old pup back UNTIL I prove vaccination or have new titers run because the current one was drawn a year ago!. They WILL accept a note from my vet saying the titer is OK as is and does not need to be re-run.. They “require” them annually. I’m also having a problem finding a vet who will issue the “permission” without doing the titers again. And they argue with me that if the titer antibody numbers are low, we will have to re vaccinate. What a pain. Feel iI’m so much better educated than these vets-or they are just in it for the $$$$! Learn the difference between vaccinations and immunity! They are NOT the same.

  4. Crystal August 27, 2013 at 7:16 PM #

    I’ve been taking a minimal approach with my Chinese Crested – Eva and my Toy Mexican Hairless – Mr. Reese. Both are on raw diet. I am concerned and confused about titers that I recently had done for them. I had my conventional vet use the VacciCheck kit for both. My holistic vet said the kit is unreliable and though the results on the kit suggested re vaccination that I should not. I am also confused…Eva was a responsible breeder purchase and I know she had all core vaccines and Rabies at about 5 months. Reese is a rescue and we believe he had one single puppy booster, he was given Rabies at 5 months when he came to the rescue. Both have the exact same result on the VacciCheck titer – in the 1 range (below 3+ marker). I had Reese’s Rabies titer done beginning of summer knowing he was “over due” for another 1yr shot. His Rabies titer is .5 and the lab indicated he was VERY well covered.

    How on earth is is possible for them to have the same LOW, almost no protection result on the VacciCheck titer when Eva got full boosters and Reese (we assume) had only 1 shot? Referring to DHPP2.

    The conventional vet says vaccinate again, holistic vet says no way. I’m confused, I just want what is best for my dogs.

  5. Ellen August 22, 2013 at 9:23 AM #

    This is an excellent article and much appreciated. I have been researching vaccines and titers for over a year now. I have two dogs: a 21-month-old mixed breed about 42 pounds, and a Chocolate Lab mix almost nine years old and about 65 pounds. After the pup’s core vaccines, I had her titered a year later when the “booster” card arrived. I also had my older dog titered for the same distemper/parvo since he was due for his “three-year booster.” The vet actually sent them to Dr. Dodds’ Hemopet Lab and the results are that neither are recommended for vaccination, a good antibody count, and a good immune response should be seen if exposed to these diseases. I allowed the pup to only receive her rabies booster that day even though they wanted to give me the entire core booster (prior to titering), a Bordetella, and a Lyme. That would have been SEVEN vaccinations – one being nasal and for some reason explained away by the techs that it’s not really a vaccination…really?

    Out of curiosity, I had the Lab mix titered for rabies when his three-year was due and it was sent to KSU. That came back with an awesome count, but of course he had to be vaccinated anyway due to NYS mandate.

    I’ve asked my vet about getting the VacciCheck for her office so a titer wouldn’t cost $90 and she could promote titers over vaccination. Her explanation to me about it was kind of contradictory that she doesn’t vaccinate needlessly, yet it’s cheaper to booster than titer…so, I make my own requests and refusals when I go there.

    A book that I recommend be part of every pet owner’s library is Vaccines Explained by Dr. Laurie Coger. I also transitioned my dogs over to a raw diet after attending her Raw Feeding Seminar and finding answers to all my questions. She is a holistic vet in Upstate NY who also does phone consultations. Her websites are http://www.thewholisticvet.com and http://www.canineculinaryacademy.com

    You can find a holistic vet in your area by searching the locator tab on http://www.ahvma.org

    Thank you Dr. Falconer! Just an aside, is the ELISA test that’s done testing the memory cells if the antigen count is low or zero? As so eloquently mentioned in your article, this low to zero count is misread and misinterpreted by so many vets as having no immunity. Ah, the more we know!

  6. Laura Coggins August 22, 2013 at 2:15 AM #

    So now I am a little confused.I have never titered(yet) because I have just recently(in the last year or so) became aware of the potential dangers of vaccines.My dogs are 2,4 and 7 and the older ones are due for their shots…I was going to titer…now I am not sure if I should bother.Should I or shouldn’t I?

  7. Woofielover August 21, 2013 at 2:46 PM #

    Gosh, I hate to state the obvious but – so many of the comments are filled with frustration over “their vet” not being willing to run titers or “forcing” them to get vaccines, etc.. You are in charge of your animals’ well being, health and care. Your vet should be a partner with you in this. If your vet is NOT a good partner, find one that is. Even if you have to drive further. Subjecting your animals to treatment based on opinion that YOU don’t agree with is not necessary. Do research. If you’re on this page you clearly are looking for better information and help or you already agree with Dr. Will. It’s your money, it’s your animal, it’s your decision. So much of what they “require” is just based on greed or limited knowledge. You may have to call around and ask some questions of different clinics before you find one that fits for you, who will partner with you and build your trust and confidence. It will be worth it. You’re in charge. Don’t be intimidated by the “white coat”!

    • Ellen August 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM #

      While I agree with this obvious conclusion, it is a bit difficult for folks like me whose closest vets are 18 and 25 miles away (both traditional and one is head of the NYSHA so she won’t appreciate the raw diet I feed), the closest emergency vet is 30, and the closest holistic vet only does 3.5 days out of the week, no evenings and/or Saturdays.

      I will continue to work with my vets about my raw feeding, titers and vaccines. They actually seem to be digesting it quite well (no pun intended), and to my joy, have been promoting wet food feeding and dry food reduction to the cat owners. They are good vets, talented medical people who just need a little nudge to think outside the box. One of them actually asked me to explain some things about raw feeding , mainly about their concern of pathogens, since they admittedly know nothing about it.

      The bottom line is to learn as much as you can so you can challenge some of the suggestions your vet makes about vaccines and make your own educated decisions about what to do, and not do, for your animals. They also know that I haven’t had to call in the Temeril-P prescription for seasonal allergies for my Lab mix this year for the first time in years…could be that transition to raw and his body detoxing the last 1.5 years…keep your paws crossed – we’re almost out of this season.

  8. Sue August 20, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

    If you have vaccinated your dog and then get a positive titer result (and yes, 1:5 is positive), you do NOT need to re-vaccinate OR re-titer, as the article states. The exception to this is rabies which is required by most states at every three years (some are still every year – ick!). If you don’t vaccinate against rabies as required by law, you cannot license your dogs and if they are involved in a dog bite situation, they can be euthanized – so don’t break the law!
    In terms of the titer situation, think of it this way:
    When we vaccinate, we are telling the immune system to build a bunch of machinery to pump out hardware called antibodies. The antibody factory gets its plans from the vaccine, builds the machinery (used exclusively for that disease), and makes a bunch of the hardware, to prove the machinery works. The final product is measured by the lab in a titer – yes, the hardware works so the machines are good to go. The factory works for a while producing more hardware, but after a while the demand goes way down (there is no exposure to the disease) so the machines get slowed way down in production – why do we want to waste the time and resources for something no one needs? But they are still there, maintained and oiled, ready to go anytime. If you would draw a titer at this point in time, there are not many pieces of hardware on the shelf so the titer number would look “low” – but if there is no demand, why not? Don’t need it, don’t build it! Just be *ready* to build it when needed.
    NOW if there is an exposure to the disease, this is an urgent call to the factory: “We need parvovirus hardware NOW!” The machines are already built, ready to go, so they just need to be turned on and voila, the parvovirus hardware (antibodies) are cranked out and swarming the virus, rendering it harmless.
    Another term for this nearly-instant reaction to an exposure to a disease the dog has been vaccinated against is the “anamnestic response.” Derived from Latin, it is loosely “an-” (not) “amnesia” (forget) – which means the immune system has not forgotten how to build those antibodies and can do so almost instantly when asked. The immune system is a wonderful thing, and we do NOT give it enough credit when we re-vaccinate or re-titer all the time.

  9. Laura H Potter August 20, 2013 at 5:37 PM #

    Thank you for the info. I tittered my older Frenchies, for the first time. My 7yr old has not been vaccinated in 5yrs and my 4yr old has not been vaccinated in 3yrs. Both showed good on the titers. My 5 month old Frenchie had her parvo & distemper shots at 16wks. I do not do any other shots, except rabies at 6 months. I did a titer on her at 18wks parvo was high distemper was low. So I should re-check?
    One comment I have to make about people “having” to do what their vet says. Yes, hopefully you trust your vet and you know he wants the best for your pet. However…the way I look at it is, my vet works for me. I am the one who has the final say in what happens. My vet and I don’t always agree but we respect each other enough to listen to both sides. But, my vet knows I always have the final say in treatment.

  10. Ellen Andres August 20, 2013 at 3:56 PM #

    My 7 year old lab had all her shots as a pup (before I knew better) She has not had any more since 2009 except the 3 year rabies and that was after having an expensive rabies titer that showed she had no immunity to it. She also had her titer for distemper and parvovirus and that came back nil on distemper. Her traditional vet wanted to re vaccinate. I called her holistic vet ( she has other issues that this vet is treating) and she said she would do a titer in Sept. Should I even bother? The holistic vet is the one who would not write an exception for the rabies vac until she did the titer test and when it came back low she still wouldn’t write one. I did another 3 year rabies and a detox even though I really didn’t want to. It is very confusing!

    • Josephine Testa September 29, 2013 at 9:27 AM #

      I go for the titer test for my rescue pup as when I adopted him from the shelter he had a tumor because he was over-vaccinated so that did it for me. Titer testing. We also go to a holistic vet. I believe that most vets are in it for the money and give you a pill for your dog to cure one thing and it harms another organ in the body because of side effects. Doctors do the same for us humans. It is your choice on what you feel is right for your pet.

  11. Laura August 20, 2013 at 3:34 PM #

    So if I understand this correctly, a one-time titer that shows immunity is good for life? How do I convince my vet and boarding kennel of this? They want me to do yearly titers.

    • Will Falconer, DVM August 20, 2013 at 4:09 PM #

      This is the correct understanding. Will your vet or boarding kennel also understand? That’s an entirely different question.

      We’ve got to start somewhere, and my bent is this: I want to arm you, the owner with useful information so that you can keep your animals safe from harm.

      No one is likely to hold your animal’s health interests as highly as you. Especially if money changes hands over the decision to vaccinate further.

      The rest you have to navigate, but when you really fully own the harm that can come from more vaccinations, you’ll figure out how to avoid them, laws or regulations not withstanding.

  12. Shari Sakry August 20, 2013 at 3:29 PM #

    I recently had to run titer tests on my 4 yr old Golden for Lymes & Anaplasma Tick Borne Diseases. Last year our dog had tested positive for exposure to Anaplasma using a 4DX Snap Test and was symptomatic. He was immediately put on Doxycycline for 30 days. It took almost the full 30 days before he rebounded which was a slow response. After 3 months, he had relapsed & we did another 30 days of Doxycycline. At this point we went to a specialist. They ran a titer test for the Anaplasma and discovered “no” antibodies present. So, then what was wrong with our wonderful dog? The specialist suspected an autoimmune disease and put him on a high dose of Prednisone for three weeks. This became the most effective drug that brought our puppy back to us. However, he relapsed again this summer and looked like a 10 yr old dog. I re-ran the tick borne disease titer tests and his Anaplasma titer came back quite high. But, also, our Vet ran an ANA test at the same time. That came back positive for Autoimmune disease. Our dog is now on Prednisone & Doxycycline. The meds have brought him back to us, but, we are still very uncertain about what his future holds. He is a mystery that will need further evaluation and treatment. For this subject alone, the titer testing was invaluable to our pups full recovery. I have not performed titer testing for vaccinations, but, feel our pets should only need their initial shots to set them on the right path for life. Great subject matter!

    • Ellen August 22, 2013 at 8:46 AM #

      Autoimmune diseases can be triggered by vaccinations, over-vaccination or vaccinosis and the adjuvants used to boost the immune system, as in Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. Proper diet and nutrition also play a huge part in our dogs’ health and non-health. I transitioned my dogs to a raw, species-appropriate diet supplementing with wild caught salmon oil, a pro-biotic made for dogs and cats, virgin coconut oil and will be switching over to a good, natural supplement to maintain proper joint mobility – looking into Alenza.
      There was also a study recently done on the possible effects of early spay/neuter on Goldens: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0055937
      I strongly urge you to seek out a good holistic vet to supplement the treatment and also look for other underlying causes. They are proactive and will perform a C6 after a 4DX comes back with antibodies to confirm whether the animal has actually contracted the disease as opposed to just being exposed to it and not needing treatment.
      Any time your dog goes on antibiotics, it is an especially good time to provide a good pro-biotic to keep healthy flora in the gut that the other takes out.
      Good luck with your baby and I hope you find out what is really the underlying factor and can eradicate it so he doesn’t spend his life on prednisone. That is a very hard drug that will cause other issues.

  13. Jenn N August 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM #

    We titer tested our dogs, during our annual wellness blood work. One year the level for parvo was so low we opted to revaccinate. A month after the booster, we ran another titer and discovered the antibody levels had not changed from the first titer test. No further ‘immunity’ was conferred by the booster. Immunology is a hard concept to grasp when there is so much misinformation out there (there are a number of vets we know that don’t even grasp it fully), so you can see how errors get made until people learn. An excellent article.

  14. June towler August 20, 2013 at 2:19 PM #

    If the titre numbers are good, showing immunity for rabies is still present, is one ok legally to not revaccinate for rabies as per legislation?

    • Ellen August 22, 2013 at 8:51 AM #

      No. In states where rabies is mandated, which I believe is all or 99% of them, unless the state also acknowledges a medical waiver and your vet finds justification to give that waiver, we are still legally bound to vaccinate for rabies.

      Dr. Ronald Schultz is performing a 10-year study to test the duration of immunity of rabies vaccines known as the Rabies Challenge Fund. Please support that and visit the website. He’d like to prove that the immunity duration runs well past three years and would like to see it extended to five and seven years, if not longer.

  15. Rhonda August 20, 2013 at 1:47 PM #

    I spend all that money for titers every year to save my tiny ones from vaccination. The holistic vet declares them “vaccinated” and shows this on their paperwork. I use several vets and only one doesnt require vaccinations. Do they need it every year? They do not – EXCEPT to show it on paper so some idiot doesn’t require it before letting them into a rescue shelter with me in case of a disaster! Also I pay for nosodes for bordatella – which I have zero confidence in. But to keep the idiots from requiring that they have it. Imagine all the money I could save if only the holistic vet would be good enough to titer them out every three years instead of requiring it every year. Sigh. I am taken either way but at least this way my little ones don’t get hurt.

  16. Christine August 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM #

    I have two pugs and I’ve found a great holistic vet who titers and we found my one Pug did not need Parvovirus ! Few years back after her vaccination there was a lump from the bad shot the tech gave and it went down after a round of antibiotics. I have read that sometimes those lumps can turn into Cancer my other Vet said no but I still titer and don’t vaccinate.

    Thank you for your information!
    Christine

  17. Kaitlin Jenkins August 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM #

    I also have not used titers, but was beginning to lean that way. We have not vaccinated our boys annually either, although our oldest Bear did recieve annual vaccines for the first few years of his life, he’s living more naturally now.

    I especially worry about our small 4 lb pomeranian, having a reaction to being over vaccinated so I’m wondering do we titer once since they’ve both been vaccinated to get #’s and ensure they’re immune and then leave it at that? Don’t re-vaccinate and don’t re-titer?

    Bear is 11 years old, and Scooter is 5.

    Thanks!

  18. Molly August 20, 2013 at 12:40 PM #

    Great article! Thank you! I have a question as well. My dog is due (according to my vet) for vaccinations this fall. The vet and I have already discussed using titers instead to determine if he in fact needs anything. Since your article is saying it’s most effective to titer a few weeks after a vaccination, will a titer this fall (2 years since his last vaccinations) be worth doing? Not sure if I should go ahead and vaccinate at his fall appointment and then titer a few weeks later or just titer with no vaccinations. Any advice? Thanks!

  19. catz August 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM #

    I just ran a titre test on my 4 1/2 year old dog for distemper. It came back as this: Positive at titre 1:5. The comments say: the pet has mounted a humoral immune response against distemper virus and annual vaccination may not be required. However, like vaccination, a positive titre cannot guarantee protection in all individuals. I called my vet for further explanation and was told that they dilute the blood in increasing amounts, and when it reaches 1:5 and they still find antibodies they say it is positive and do no further testing. I asked if there is a way to tell ‘how many antibodies’ (ie: how much protection) and they said no. Question: is this correct/sufficient? The lab was IDEXX VetConnect. I tried to call their info line and they would only say I had to speak to my vet. My vet was unfortunately not well versed in titres… They do not perform many at this clinic, so I am an anomaly with the titre request on my dog.

    • Ellen August 22, 2013 at 9:01 AM #

      There is much information on the Internet about titers, and two great resources for this information are Dr. Jean Dodds and Dr. Ronald Schultz. You can have your vet send the sample to Dr. Dodds’ lab in CA which is part of her Greyhound rescue blood bank and national blood donor program called Hemopet. If you go to the site, you can get all the information, forms, and see all the types of tests that can be run at her lab that are more efficient than most tests performed.

      For example, I strongly urge anyone witnessing strange to aggressive behavior in small dogs, especially terriers, to have a thyroid panel test done by Dr. Dodds. It is geared toward that individual dog rather than a textbook generic thyroid test. You’d be amazed at how many are saved with this test instead of being put down because the regular test came back ‘negative’ concluding that the behavior cannot be explained medically and the dog is dangerous.

  20. Anne M August 20, 2013 at 11:54 AM #

    I titered my cocker when she was due for her shots last February. Suffered a traumatic loss of her littermate last May to Evan’s syndrome post-vaccination. Just learned about titers from Dr. Dodd’s after we started looking in to vaccinosis after Sophie’s death. It has proved useful in convincing one groomer to do her, after having a terrible experience with the few home groomers I could afford. I’m afraid I won’t be able to take her there if I don’t do this annually, but not sure as this is new ground for both of us. I don’t mind paying the cost if it enables us to continue going there.

  21. Chris August 20, 2013 at 11:16 AM #

    I own 3 mature dogs I rescued and adopted, and I or a rescue org. vaccinated them at least once for Parvo, Distemper, and sometimes annually on Vet’s recommendation. Now I have stopped and had my Vet do titer tests for distemper and parvo.
    -As long as the titer test shows some level of positive, there is no reason to either titer again, or vaccinate them again, for these 2 diseases?
    -What if I foster other rescued dogs, or volunteer in a shelter. Should I do anything to protect my dogs? Thanks!

  22. Jerry Putnam August 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM #

    I have not done titer test –Last year we had a break..in shots….PARVO…2 liters of whippets 1mo.appart.{Feb..Mar.}..May PARVO….4 pups died{miss diagnosis}saved 2..–6pups in second litter all saved !
    ….Lots of IV fluids &sub.q shots. I now have ALL ANIMALS on BOVINE COLOSTRUM…I have
    had a litter of Whippets & a litter of Welch Terriers….All Good. {..local Vet…amazed}
    For years I only give 1 reg.5way shot….I am all over the country(I breed-Train–Handle–Show Dogs}
    Never gave booster shots…Now only if there is a break out of Something…..I do not know if COLOSTRUM is the answer But it is for ME. .and my animals. !..! Thank You SMILE HAVE A GREAT DAY…JP.Texas

  23. Kathy August 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM #

    I firmly believe in what is stated regarding immunity to disease, the waste of money for vaccinations and potential side effects. My question is this…what do you do when your vet, or the vet you decide to go to says that they won’t treat your animal unless it’s vaccinated? Do you ask them to perform the titer test and then if the results are favorable let them know that you don’t plan on vaccinating your little one anymore? I just went to a new vet and they asked for proof of vaccination for my 15 year old, indoor dog. I received the post card that he was due in June, however I haven’t had him vaccinated. I don’t think it’s necessary to pump unneeded chemicals into his little, old body. I have also opted this strategy for my seventeen year old, indoor cats. How do I handle this at the vet? I do need nearby care should something happen to them.

    Thanks so much for your insight!

  24. James August 20, 2013 at 10:42 AM #

    We just had a Titer done on our 4yr and 3 1/2 year olds about one and a half months ago. Their last Core Vaccines were done in late 2009 and 2010. Results this last time still showed a positive Titer.
    Wish Vets would get the in house VacciCheck. So then they could off set the cost of not giving the Vaccines. Then they would not loose any income. Also you would have the results in about 20min.
    I also hate Vets that show that they are AAHA recommended. But they do not follow the recommendations of the associations that they belong to.

  25. Will Falconer, DVM August 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM #

    Absolutely, Pam. This is one sound use of titers.

    • Pam August 20, 2013 at 12:55 PM #

      Thanks for your prompt reply, Will. I appreciate it.

  26. Pam August 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM #

    I have not used titers, but have not taken my animals in to be vaccinated every year either. It just doesn’t make sense to me to do so. My kids weren’t asked to get chicken pox vaccines every year.

    But I do have a question:

    A few weeks ago I rescued a cat from my neighbourhood. After reaching out to see if anyone was missing her, I decided to keep her. (She was in heat, so I’m thinking someone just gave her the boot.)

    She’s only about 7 months old, and I am going to get her fixed as soon as her deworming is done, but vets keep wanting to vaccinate her just in case the previous owners didn’t.

    Will a titer work well to see if she has in fact been vaccinate or not? I don’t want to over-vaccinate her, especially since she’s so young!

  27. Rita hogan August 20, 2013 at 9:04 AM #

    I agree. I don’t vaccinate. I did when my dogs were 2 years of age and that was it. I have tittered them once in 5-6 years. My beagle who has a higher risk of rabies because she runs our 36 acres was very low on rabies once and I vaccinated her. That is all I have done in the 13 years I have had my dogs and they are beyond healthy. People have been “trained” to believe their dogs will implode and start contracting diseases if they don’t vaccinate and that their dogs are healthier because they do yearly vaccinations. So far from the truth. They are making our dogs sick.

  28. Lisa August 20, 2013 at 8:30 AM #

    Hi would like to know your opinion on hearworm medication. I hear it goes right into the dogs liver and is toxic.

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