What is a vaccine titer test for dogs?
Original Question: My dog is now two and she received all her vaccines last year. I assume we will not need to think about it again for another year or so. I am however concerned with over vaccinating her. I’ve heard there is an in clinic test used in the US as accurate as titer testing but much cheaper called TiterCHEK. Can you tell me if anyone uses these in Toronto? What do you know of these and can you explain more about titer testing and the cost? Thank you. - Janine
If your dog received its primary series then these vaccines are always bolstered 1 year later. After that, I would recommend that you ask about 3-year vaccines so you reduce the number of times you need to administer it. I think your question about vaccine titer testing is great. Just for some background, I’ll let you know a few things about these tests.
A vaccine titer test for dogs measures the level of antibodies in the body to the disease that the vaccine is used to prevent. It is generally accepted that if the antibody level is over a certain limit, it is considered ‘protective’ and the vaccine booster is unnecessary. This is how it works in theory, however, many specialists do not agree that titer testing is completely reliable. You’ll want to discuss the pros and cons with your primary veterinarian and get their opinion.
There are a few different products on the market that veterinarians can use ‘table-side’ to titer test. If you are currently using titer testing to guide your vaccination choices, then it is generally accepted that you would perform it annually and then base your decision to booster on the results that you receive. You have the choice to perform it more often which would increase the chance of finding out when the antibody level falls from ‘protective’ to ‘unproductive’ which would then necessitate a vaccine booster at that time rather than waiting until the end of the year. The different products available will all have their different efficacy rates which is to say how reliable they are. As per my licensing, I’m not allowed to recommend any product or service but I would recommend you ask your veterinarian which product they have available, who makes it and what the research trials they performed show in terms of how reliable they are. You could even call the company yourself and inquire.
I hope this helps. Thanks for the question and good luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.