Concerned about Over-Vaccinating Your Dog?
Consider a Titer Test!
What is Titer Testing?
A titer test (pronounced TIGHT er) is a laboratory test measuring the existence and level of antibodies to disease in blood. Antibodies are produced when an antigen (like a virus or bacteria) provokes a response from the immune system. This response can come from natural exposure or from vaccination.
How is the Test Performed?
Your test result will have an explanation of what your pet’s test result means. But if you want to know more, here’s the test in a nutshell:
First, one mL of blood is drawn.
The sample is then diluted.
Titer levels, expressed as ratios, indicate how many times blood can be diluted before no antibodies are detected.
If blood can be diluted a 1000 times and still show antibodies, the ratio would be 1:1000.
This is a “strong” titer. A titer of 1:2 would be weak.
Should I Test for All Diseases?
The most recommended test examines antibodies for both parvovirus and distemper, the two most important viruses. Rabies titers are also often tested. Usually, for most dogs, tests for other diseases are generally not considered useful or necessary.
Why Titer Test?
The parvovirus/distemper test can help you or others (vets, groomers, kennel owners, etc.) determine if your dog requires additional vaccination, and may save your dog unnecessary shots.
It is especially useful when making a decision about vaccinating an animal with unknown vaccination history, or for determining if puppies have received immunity from vaccination.
Most experts believe strong titers are a more reliable indication of immunity than vaccination: tests show the actual immune response, not just the attempt to cause an immune response by vaccination.
The subject of immunity is complicated, and we are programmed to think of vaccination as “the gold standard” — the more, the better. Experts who challenge the status quo are often maligned. Humans don’t like change.
Meet the Doctor!
Dr. Sarah Urban, DVM
Sarah Urban, DVM is accepting new patients for care at Doglicious Spa & Wellness Center. Her experience and education include certifications in canine rehabilitation, mixed animal acupuncture, veterinary spinal manipulation therapy, postural rehabilitation and veterinary food therapy. She is currently completing her master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine at the Chi Institute.Sarah’s research interests include: equine lymphedema, advances in rehabilitation therapy and herbal medicine for cancer. She is a member of College of Animal Chiropractors, Inc. (CoAC). Urban currently sits on the board of research for McQueen Animal Chiropractic and Research Institute and is also a researching veterinarian for The Holistic Equine Academy of Lymphedema, known as HEAL, an equine lymphedema awareness group. Dr. Urban is well qualified and very talented, bringing state of the art expertise and information to clients, as well as compassionate and comforting care to her patients. Sarah’s special interests include horseback riding, tending to her hobby farm, hiking, and traveling.