What is Titre Testing?
First of all I would like to point out I am not advising on any particular method of immunisation,
I am merely investigation what Titre Testing is and trying to give as much information as possible about everything I discovered during my research.
So no going to your vet and saying “Tigger said...”
A background into vaccines
There are approximately 316 veterinary vaccines or immunological products currently in the UK for companion animals, horses and the major food producing animals.
46 are authorised for use in dogs and 30 products are authorised for cats.
For dogs...which will be the focus of my investigation, there are two main groups of vaccine which are Core and Non-Core vaccines.
Core vaccines are vaccines that all dogs should be protected against.
Non-core vaccines are vaccines for animals whose geographical location, local environment or lifestyle places them at risk of contracting other specific infections.
The WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) guidelines also classify some vaccines as not recommended where they believe there is insufficient scientific evidence to justify their use.
However, they may still be used where the diseases they intend to immunise against have a particular clinical significance - outbreak.
The three Core vaccines are:
1. Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)
2. Canine Parvovirus (CPV)
3. Canine Adenovirus (CAV)
The initial vaccines.
When a puppy is born it is partially protected from infections from its mother’s milk. However this limited protection will only last for a few weeks so it is important to arrange vaccination as soon as possible.
The first vaccination is usually given in two stages which are around eight weeks and around two weeks after the initial one.
It should be safe for the puppy to go out seven days after the second vaccine.
Exact dates and schedules will be confirmed by your veterinary practice.
The WSAVA recommend a 12 month booster to ensure immunity for dogs that may not have adequately responded to the primary puppy vaccination course.
Duration of immunity
Studies to determine duration of immunity (DOI) can be carried out but the studies would need to recruit a large number of dogs and continue following each of these dogs for several years. The studies are likely to be very expensive and there is a high potential of ‘loss to follow-up’ (e.g. owners moving house, dropping out of the study) and would rely heavily on the use of questionnaires and accurate records.
One significant factor would be if a dog has been vaccinated and is then exposed to a disease it could affect the perceived DOI in the study. Further information about the dog’s breed, location and lifestyle etc would need to be considered, so giving any vaccine a guaranteed DOI is not realistically possible or accurate to say for every dog out there at this time.
The DOI established through research (controlled environment) is a minimum period of duration and may be much longer. However to establish the maximum DOI it would require animals to be isolated for very long periods of time and this raises considerable concerns about animal welfare, veterinary ethics and cost.
The WSAVA Guidelines recommend a booster at 12 months after completing the primary vaccination for all core-components (defined as canine distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus) followed by a booster vaccination frequency of not more than every three years.
What is Titre testing?
Serology is the process of taking a blood sample and diluting it to check its antibody level.
The process of diluting and studying is called titration, which is why it has probably got the name Titre test.
The reason for getting a Titre test is to see a particular animal’s antibody level and see if it requires a booster.
What is better, booster or Tire test?
That my dear furpals is not for me to say, Vets study hard for over 4 years to get qualifications and can answer these questions, whereas I can lie on the floor and scratch behind my ear with my paw.
The only thing I can recommend is that your welfare is properly taken care of and whatever route your humans decide make sure they ask your vet and research it thoroughly themselves.
External factors to consider
The following factors do not directly influence your health but point out some things to consider and check before deciding on Titre testing.
Boarding, daycare and training classes.
All of these establishments require proof of immunisation.
They will quote the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963, yes even the training classes as all of their licences are approved, issued and checked by local councils.
They may say dogs require vaccines, but the Act states "that all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread among animals of infectious or contagious diseases".
A Titre test showing acceptable immunity levels is proof of immunisation.
Some establishments will accept annual Titre testing results that show acceptable immunity levels but some may not. If you use these establishments it is better to check their policies.
Animals that do not have annual boosters may find they are not covered for some illnesses if they could have been vaccinated against in the annual booster. It is better to check your policy to see what is said about vaccines.
Whatever you and your humans decide, remember to
Stay safe out there furpals