Vaccinations have played an important part in providing immunity to our beloved pets and us humans too, for many years. There has been plenty of discussion about titre testing with access becoming increasingly available not only in external laboratories but also in clinics. Our aim is to reduce the vaccine load on your pets, which will help reduce the adverse reactions. We think this is a worthwhile discussion to have. So let’s get to it.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccinations are essentially made up of a live, less virulent form of the virus, so when they are injected into an animal, it allows the body to produce the necessary antibodies to fight against an infection without the animal having to experience the symptoms associated with the disease. These antibodies will then be produced quicker in the event of a future infection with the same virus, providing the animals with protection.
What is a vaccine load?
Here is what the Australian Veterinary Association says about Vaccine Load – Vaccination in general is considered very safe, vaccine associated adverse events are possible, and therefore when considering an appropriate protocol for a patient, veterinarians should aim to reduce the vaccine load on individual animals provided this does not increase the risk of disease.
When should my pet be vaccinated?
Puppies are born with immunity that is transferred through their mother’s milk. This immunity diminishes as they grow and by the time they are around 6 weeks of age it is time to start a course of injections to ensure your puppies immunity doesn’t lapse. Please refer to our vaccination schedule for more info.
Which vaccines should my pet receive? –
We recommend all dogs get C3 (distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus) vaccination, and that KC (kennel cough) vaccination be given to all dogs that will need to visit boarding kennels, dog shows or spend a significant amount of time in large cities (especially their dog parks). Click here for more information.
How do we reduce a vaccine load?
Australian Veterinary Association has moved the administration of C3 vaccines (Distemper, Parvovirus and Hepatitis) from annually to three-yearly in adult dogs.
Research has suggested that after a complete puppy vaccination course, as well as a booster when they are over one year of age dogs will be protected for possibly longer than the suggested three years. This varies as every dog’s response to a vaccine is variable. This is where titre testing comes in.
What is titre testing?
Titre testing is a blood test that measures the levels of specific of antibodies to specific viruses.
There are limitations to this form of testing as vaccinations provoke two types of immunity
1. The productions of antibodies
2. Cell-mediated immunity (no antibodies)
Titre testing only measures the antibody response and can be misleading when checking the total immunity of a patient.
Titre testing is done when your pet is due for a vaccine and is only testing for C3 (Parvo, distemper and hepatitis)
Results – What do they mean?
Titre testing in house provides only 2 results. Positive and negative. If your pet receives positive results, they will not require a vaccine as there are enough antibodies to provide immunity. The vaccine/testing will then be repeated again in 3 years time.
If your pet receives a negative result they do not have enough antibodies and will require a vaccine.
Please be aware titre testing in no way affects or replaces your pets Annual health check. Health checks are vital in preventing and treating diseases as early as possible. Other vaccines such as Kennel Cough and heartworm preventative treatments will still be required annually.
Please be aware that not all boarding kennels will accept unvaccinated dogs regardless of titre levels. If your pet is going to be boarding it is best to speak to your boarding kennel prior to your pets visit.
Why should I titre test my pet?
Titre testing allows you (the pet owner) and us (the veterinarian) to minimise the risk of both infectious diseases and unnecessary vaccinations. Titre testing can help reduce the vaccine load on your pet whilst ensuring they are as safe as possible.
So if you have questions about titre testing please talk to your veterinarian. We can help guide you so your pet receives the best possible care.