Titre Testing in Dogs.
Many people believe that titre testing in dogs may be the answer to the problem of over vaccination in our companion dogs. This Holidays4Dogs article examines the benefits of this simple blood test and how this relates to vaccination protocols.
A titre test consists of a laboratory analysis of a blood sample which measures the antibodies to disease in the bloodstream. Titre testing, therefore, can determine the effectiveness of a vaccine, or detect an animal’s natural immunity to a disease.
This simple blood test, therefore, can help inform decisions about whether, or not, to vaccinate a dog. In fact, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), UK states;
“The BSAVA strongly supports the concept that a tailored vaccine programme should be applied to as many animals as possible within a population to maintain the level of protective immunity within that population.”
The core diseases of dogs are distemper, infectious hepatitis and parvovirus. Titre testing can show whether circulating antibodies are present which will protect the dog from these diseases. It is particularly useful for puppies, or dogs with an un-known vaccination history.
A growing number of professionals believe the practice of annual vaccination is unnecessary. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that vaccines could be the source of numerous health issues among pet dogs.
These guidelines are based on the latest research and recommendations from immunologists worldwide. Furthermore, the WSAVA promote the use of titre testing rather than routine vaccination, which is still generally normal practice in Europe and America.
New test kits make titre testing a simple procedure which veterinary practices can carry out. The Pet Welfare Alliance has written to all veterinary practices in the UK and provided details of the titre testing kits (VacciCheck) available to them, as well arranging a discount for them with suppliers.
Many licensing authorities for animal boarding do not stipulate that vaccinations should be ‘annual’, only that they should be ‘current’. According to Cliverton Insurance – (underwritten by Amlin UK) – as long as boarding establishments comply with their local authority licensing rules, the individual establishment can decide on their own vaccine policy.
With regards to insurance policies and titre testing, there are some companies such as Animal Friends or healthy-pets.co.uk who do not require annual vaccination. You must confirm this information with individual companies, since regulations change over time.