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When to Vaccinate and When to Titer?

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  • When to Vaccinate and When to Titer?

    I'd love to hear y'alls thoughts on titers vs. vaccination. Growing up the vet we used only vaccinated. A couple clients elected to only do rabies but rabies was done annually with no exceptions.

    I am increasingly meeting individuals who titer for everything and vaccinate as needed. Dexter is due for his vaccines in two weeks so I am doing my research and gathering my thoughts so I can have an educated discussion with his vet.

    I thumbed through the Georgia rabies protocol and noted that most of the rabies vaccines are "annual & triennial." If heaven forbid he bit someone and I was following the three year protocol, would the state still considered him protected if the vet provided a new rabies tag each year?

    What do y'all think about tittering after the first round of distemper/parvo?

  • #2
    I think it's a good way to end up with a dead puppy. Puppies need at least three boosters of parvo and distemper, and then a one-year booster shot for both in order to establish proven, prolonged immunity. Once you've finished the series, your adult dog does not need either titers or additional vaccines.

    Titers haven't been clinically proven to mean anything- I wouldn't bother doing them. If you're concerned, I'd just get the dog re-vaccinated. Safer all around, and even cheaper- titers are expensive. Vaccines are much safer than internet rumors would have you believe.

    Just follow Dodds' protocol- parvo and distemper at ages 9, 12, 16 weeks and one year; rabies at 24 weeks and one year.
    Then you're safe to just give rabies as required by law- this varies by area. Do not skimp on rabies shots- the law is very unforgiving of undervaccinated dogs.

    Comment


    • #3
      Titer numbers just measure that an individual's immune system responded to a vaccine and how strongly a response it mounted.

      The trouble here, those figures only measure one part of what the immune system does and doesn't correlate well with how that individual may later respond if infected.

      For some vaccines, the correlation is a bit stronger than others, but none good enough to depend on it where it matters, like diseases that can kill or are a health hazard to others.

      Tetanus will only kill your horse if your titer numbers are high and you don't vaccinate and the horse gets tetanus.
      Rabies, well, you are putting others at risk, so maybe you ought to just vaccinate anyway, not depend on questionable titer readings.

      We just don't know enough to take serious chances with our health or that of our animals, according to our vets.

      Comment


      • #4
        wendy, how on earth do you get dogs into class or other venues that require proof of current vaccination if you do not vaccinate yearly?

        Comment


        • #5
          In states where I have lived, titres have not been permitted for rabies, so that's the one vaccination I've used. Otherwise I do titres. Yes they are expensive, but the fact is that I have never had a test come back showing need for vaccination, meaning that if I had just vaccinated, the dogs would have been overmedicated (overantibodied?). That confirms the value of titring, for me.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post

            I thumbed through the Georgia rabies protocol and noted that most of the rabies vaccines are "annual & triennial." If heaven forbid he bit someone and I was following the three year protocol, would the state still considered him protected if the vet provided a new rabies tag each year?
            If he bit someone after the 3 year vaccination period, he would be considered an unvaccinated animal.

            The veterinarian cannot legally provide you with a rabies tag based on a titer.
            It is issued upon vaccination.

            As for distemper/parvo, etc., we usually go to a 3 year interval after the dog has the initial series and one adult vaccination.
            A middle of the road deal, probably less expensive than a titer.
            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

            Comment


            • #7
              And don't forget that in endemic areas , Lyme and lepto should be given yearly...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by wendy View Post
                Just follow Dodds' protocol- parvo and distemper at ages 9, 12, 16 weeks and one year; rabies at 24 weeks and one year.
                Then you're safe to just give rabies as required by law- this varies by area. Do not skimp on rabies shots- the law is very unforgiving of undervaccinated dogs.
                This is basically what I do. My area allows the 3 year rabies shot, and so I vaccinate for rabies every 3 years.
                The problem that you frequently encounter is that many boarding, grooming, and training facilities still require what seems like an awful lot of shots. It can take some real doing to find facilities that do not require over-vaccination.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Casey09 View Post
                  This is basically what I do. My area allows the 3 year rabies shot, and so I vaccinate for rabies every 3 years.
                  The problem that you frequently encounter is that many boarding, grooming, and training facilities still require what seems like an awful lot of shots. It can take some real doing to find facilities that do not require over-vaccination.
                  Do you really prefer to use a boarding stable, groomer or training facilities that played loose with their requirements for vaccinations, overall health, deworming and flea control?

                  No, you don't need a proper vaccination protocol, any internet advice will do.
                  Yes, feeding garlic is enough to keep your dogs flea free.
                  Some herbs will deworm your dogs enough.
                  Don't worry if your dog has a cough, he is bright and playful, must be nothing, just bring him on ...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                    Do you really prefer to use a boarding stable, groomer or training facilities that played loose with their requirements for vaccinations, overall health, deworming and flea control?

                    No, you don't need a proper vaccination protocol, any internet advice will do.
                    Yes, feeding garlic is enough to keep your dogs flea free.
                    Some herbs will deworm your dogs enough.
                    Don't worry if your dog has a cough, he is bright and playful, must be nothing, just bring him on ...
                    I use that vaccination schedule on the advice of my vet. I really do think that over-vaccination can be harmful, but that is probably because the vet that I use has told me that. I would never feed a dog garlic as the garlic can be toxic to them. I would never use herbs in place of standard heartworm dewormer as I live in an area where heartworm is common.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Titres are more expensive, which is why most people choose to vaccinate. Often boarding facilities, agility/kennel clubs require them.

                      Rabies is required by law in most places. Most vets now recommend vaccines evey 3 years, and the tag is suitable for 3 years. DA2PP is very important to puppies, but "usually" this protection will follow them for life. Of course, I did have a dog who at age 2 acquired distemper and this cost about $4000 in hospital treatments, so there is still a slight chance that an older dog can acquire these diseases that have been vaccinated for in the past. Keep in mind, many kennel clubs, boarding facilities, etc. do require vaccine certificates and not titre levels.

                      I personally dont titre (expensive), I do vaccinate young dogs (generally up to age 3) and then follow up just with rabies and lepto every 3 years as we are in a high risk area.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites...uidelines.aspx

                        Article about the new guidelines for vaccination adopted by the American Animal Hospital Association.
                        Sue Myers
                        www.MistyMeadowsHorseFarm.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                          Do you really prefer to use a boarding stable, groomer or training facilities that played loose with their requirements for vaccinations, overall health, deworming and flea control?

                          No, you don't need a proper vaccination protocol, any internet advice will do.
                          Yes, feeding garlic is enough to keep your dogs flea free.
                          Some herbs will deworm your dogs enough.
                          Don't worry if your dog has a cough, he is bright and playful, must be nothing, just bring him on ...
                          Having a vet titer instead of vaccinate is hardly "playing loose". Or even remotely close to giving herbs instead of deworming....or getting "internet advice." Geez!

                          The reality is that many vaccines do have a lasting effect, and for some dogs the risk of vaccinating may be fairly great. I have a dog that has had some severe allergic reactions in his life - once to a bee sting, the second time it was an unknown cause but the reaction was unreal. My vet thought it would be safer to titer him rather than re-vaccinate him whenever it was not absolutely necessary (e.g. rabies), so for most of his life, we have done annual titers.

                          I also had a dog that was extremely sensitive to the "old" Lyme vaccine; and we titered for that and only vaccinated when it was clearly necessary (endemic area).

                          Obviously for puppies getting their first series of vaccinations, titers may not be accurate or useful, so that is a different issue. For adult dogs, it is a different story. The issue of showing proof of vaccination is a different one; I have only ever had to show proof of rabies for anything I've entered with my dogs, and since that one is required by law, we get it whether they need it or not.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                            Having a vet titer instead of vaccinate is hardly "playing loose". Or even remotely close to giving herbs instead of deworming....or getting "internet advice." Geez!

                            The reality is that many vaccines do have a lasting effect, and for some dogs the risk of vaccinating may be fairly great. I have a dog that has had some severe allergic reactions in his life - once to a bee sting, the second time it was an unknown cause but the reaction was unreal. My vet thought it would be safer to titer him rather than re-vaccinate him whenever it was not absolutely necessary (e.g. rabies), so for most of his life, we have done annual titers.

                            I also had a dog that was extremely sensitive to the "old" Lyme vaccine; and we titered for that and only vaccinated when it was clearly necessary (endemic area).

                            Obviously for puppies getting their first series of vaccinations, titers may not be accurate or useful, so that is a different issue. For adult dogs, it is a different story. The issue of showing proof of vaccination is a different one; I have only ever had to show proof of rabies for anything I've entered with my dogs, and since that one is required by law, we get it whether they need it or not.
                            Of course, I was being facetious about all that.

                            What we have to understand is that vaccinations and an experienced veterinarian, that sees what is needed where you live and knows your dog is the best person to ask about vaccines.

                            Vaccines are not really a one size fits all, but we have to find an average where they work best for most dogs in most situations.
                            There are recommendations and then in the real world each vet will determine what is best.

                            My little dog reacts badly to vaccines, especially lepto, but here, with our wild life, especially rabbits, the risk of the vaccine is minimal with the risk of getting lepto.
                            She gets a special vaccination protocol that includes preventive shots so she doesn't has an overreaction to the vaccine's adjuvant, that is what she probably is sensitive to.

                            That vaccines may last long in some dogs is good, but that we don't know which dog is the one well protected, which one not and needs more boosters, that is why there are norms to revaccinate, to catch an average that protects most dogs out there.

                            Yes, that will over-vaccinate many, but it will also protect many that with less boosting may not be properly protected.

                            Our vets do run titer testing where it makes sense, or if some client insist they do, but still don't base those numbers just on that to re-vaccinate, it is not that reliable.

                            Immunology knowledge is increasing so fast, I would guess in a few years we will have much better ways to vaccinate.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Bluey, recommended protocol has changed over the years. You know you can vaccinate for DHPP every three years and just booster the lepto every year?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                                Bluey, recommended protocol has changed over the years. You know you can vaccinate for DHPP every three years and just booster the lepto every year?
                                Yes, our vet has been doing that for my little dog, where he is comfortable with the newer protocols, that he not always agrees with for my dog.

                                Looking at each individual, protocols are just guidelines, not set in stone.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If I had an adult dog with a history of severe reactions to vaccines or one who was compromised in some other way that made vaccinating risky, I would consider doing titers. I didn't vaccinate my dog for anything but rabies (as required by law) when we were sorting out his seizure issues a few years ago for example.

                                  But generally speaking, if you ever have need to board or groom your dog, titers won't cut it as proof of vaccination at most facilities. With the exception of Rabies and intranasal bordatella, every place I've needed to provide proof of vaccination to has required that they be done annually. I haven't done sufficient research to know what studies are out there regarding titer levels and the protective action for the various vaccines so for me with otherwise healthy dogs, I'd rather vaccinate.

                                  Rabies is a no brainer though. It's the law and unlike a lot of the other diseases we vaccinate for, there's no treatment if they get it. The efficacy of the 1year vaccine vs the 3year vaccine is, as far as I can tell, the same in an adult dog who has been vaccinated previously. Which vaccine is recognized legally has more to do with the prevalence of rabies in the area as I understand it.

                                  Since my guys don't have any issues with their vaccines, and because they are exposed to lots of other dogs and lepto and lyme in the environment, I vaccinate.
                                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    wendy, how on earth do you get dogs into class or other venues that require proof of current vaccination if you do not vaccinate yearly?
                                    what classes or venues might these be? the only time I've ever been asked for vaccination proof on an adult dog it was proof of rabies- and every three years, not yearly, is the legal standard here that everyone follows for rabies.
                                    Requiring proof of vaccination for rabies makes sense- it protects everyone against rabies, especially the unvaccinated people who also might be attending the class. I would not want to attend a class or dog show that might have rabid dogs in it, would you?

                                    Requiring proof of vaccination for other diseases does not make much sense because whether you vaccinate or not it doesn't directly affect the safety of others, it only affects you and your dog. Your choice, you take the consequences.

                                    Besides, no one does yearly vaccines anymore, do they? even the most pro-vaccine people don't feel the need to vaccinate yearly. I thought they'd changed all of the vaccine schedules such that after you complete the puppy series/1st booster shot none of the rest are supposed to be given that frequently to adult dogs- every two or three years, depending on the vaccine.

                                    Most of these vaccines almost certainly confer at least 10 years of immunity on the recipient; if anyone would bother to do the studies to prove that for sure, the recommended booster schedules would be changed. No one wants to change them without solid proof that it's safe to do so, and the type of study necessary to prove the immunity lasts for 10 years obviously will take a long time and motivated individuals to complete.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Wendy, even some of the fundraising dog walk deals I've done require proof of things like bordatella in addition to rabies. Most puppy training classes I'm aware of require proof of everything as well. (including corona for pups)

                                      And yes, most clinics still recommend annual boosters for DA2PP or DHLPP at minimum. Bordatella, Lymes, Lepto are optional (though lepto is included in some of the distemper combos, varies by region). Rabies vaccine is dictated by the state law and is either 1 year or 3 year though the vaccine itself is the same as far as I'm aware.
                                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by wendy View Post
                                        if anyone would bother to do the studies to prove that for sure, the recommended booster schedules would be changed.


                                        There is a great deal of immunological research available on effective types of vaccines, effective vaccination protocols, efficacy/accuracy of titreing (what's commercially available & what is possible are very different), immune status of animals that have ceased to show a positive titre yet mount a very successful immune response when challenged etc, etc ... getting change through into animal care is very difficult (J Dodds couldn't even get her early papers published, never mind public acceptance or serious consideration of the changes she has tried to implement).

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