What is Titer testing for pets?
Have you heard of Titer testing? (pronounced TIGHT-er) Way back in 1993, when I had a cocker spaniel with allergy and skin issues that were NOT responding to any treatment I seemed to throw at them, I went to a holistic veterinarian. (by accident… I moved to a new area and she had just opened her office — Lucky me!)
The 1st thing she suggested was to check my cocker’s titer levels for the vaccines she was due for.
Testing for the titer levels of vaccinations in a dog’s (or cat or horse’s, for that matter) body means testing the level of antibodies to a particular virus.
In most cases with dogs, it’s important to have strong anti-bodies to viruses such as Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and Canine Parvovirus (CPV).
Both of these viruses are very contagious and in young puppies especially, they can be deadly.
The way to test for titer levels in our pets is through a blood test. 1 mL of blood is extracted and tested for the levels of the specific antibodies of CDV or CPV.
Titer levels can also be tested for rabies and other types of vaccinations available. This can be useful when a vaccination history of a stray or rescued pet is unknown.
Whether or not this is appropriate or gives valuable information to you would depend on what you needed to know about your individual pet.
For example, if your pet had allergy and skin issues like mine did, it was worth it for me to know what her titer levels were.
At that point, the titer testing was telling me I may not have to re-vaccinate her at that time… that was good news because veterinarians were just beginning to suspect that over-vaccinating could be contributing to more problems than it was preventing.
The question of the cost of titer testing vs. vaccination yearly has been a topic of hot debate.
Costs of both titer testing and yearly vaccinations can vary wildly from vet to vet. It’s important to ‘shop around’, call and talk to someone knowledgeable in the vet’s office or see if there is any relevant information on the vet’s website.
If the veterinarian has to send out the blood sample or can test it in the office may also determine the cost.
As pet owners, we all know how very important it is to keep our precious pets as healthy and happy as possible.
Starting with the 1st puppy vaccinations after weaning, vaccinations are extremely important to build up immunity and anti-bodies to known viruses such as CDV and CPV, but also as prevention to other illnesses and diseases.
It’s good to know there are alternative options for your pet. Titer testing can help you make informed decisions with information that actually helps.