Vaccine Titer Tests
Vaccine titer tests can be performed in any dog or cat instead of a vaccine. These tests provide proof of protection from various diseases. In our office we can test to determine if a dog is protected from distemper, parvo, and adenovirus. We often perform a titer test at an annual exam in order to limit the number of vaccines that must be given to our patients. The picture below is an example of one of these tests. Often in adult dogs, no vaccines are needed at the annual exam because they continue to have protection from their puppy vaccines or those vaccines that were previously given annually.
For our feline patients we are able to determine protection from panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper). This titer test is sent to a laboratory at Cornell University. There is currently no in house test for feline panleukopenia. The results of such a test can be seen below.
Performing titers to determine rabies protection is also available through our office. This test is submitted to Kansas State University rabies lab. This test is performed on a case by case basis, often when there is a medical condition precluding rabies vaccination in a dog or cat. Rabies titer tests can be performed in two different ways. The simplest titer test gives us a positive or negative result, telling us if the patient is protected or not protected. The second type of rabies titer test gives us an actual number to show at what dilution the titer was positive. See the results for both types of test below.
When we determine the results of the titer test, we discuss the options with the client. When Distemper or parvo titers are low, we can give an individual distemper or parvo vaccines. We are fortunate to carry component vaccines and therefore do not have to vaccinate with the traditional multi component vaccines such as the DAPP (distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, parvo combination vaccination). We can provide protection from the specific disease that is needed without exposing your pet to many vaccines at one time. If the rabies titer is shown to be non-protective, we will discuss options for vaccination. It is ultimately the owner’s choice wether to vaccinate in this case. Fortunately it is rare to find a patient that is not protected from rabies, as most patients have had multiple rabies vaccines.
If we choose to give a vaccine in our practice, only one vaccine will be given per visit with 2-3 weeks between vaccines if there is more than one vaccine needed. This helps to protect the immune system so that the body does not have to respond to multiple disease antigens at one time.