Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Understanding the Difference Between Vaccination vs. Checking Titers

For years we have been told that our pets need vaccines every year for them to stay healthy. As veterinary medicine progresses we change our views. Today AHAA, American Animal Hospital Association, along with several universities, propose a whole new concept.

Puppies and kittens should be vaccinated with core vaccines (rabies and distemper/parvo for dogs and rabies, distemper and leukemia for cats) beginning at about 8 weeks of age and continuing until 16 weeks of age. The core vaccines are then repeated in one year. After that time, vaccines can be kept to a minimum. Rabies can be given every 3 years, according to state and local laws. The distemper vaccine, for both dogs and cats, can also be given every three years. For some pets, more frequent vaccination may be advised based on risks for exposure. Noncore vaccines such as Lymes disease, Leptosporosis, Influenza and Feline Infectious Peritonitis have specific recommendations on ages to begin and frequency given.

An alternative to some vaccines is titering. Titers test the blood for specific antibodies and determine if your pet is protected from a disease. These titers typically do not give a number or level of protection, only a positive or negative result. A positive titer insures that if exposed, your pet is as protected as it would be if given a vaccine. If the titer is negative, your pet may be at risk if exposed and should be vaccinated. Rabies titering is available but may not be accepted by the State as vaccinated. All pets vaccinated, as recommended, can begin titering after two years of age. Titers are definitely recommended for our senior pets and those that are compromised by illness or prone to vaccine reactions.

By titering our pets we are able to “customize” a protocol for each animal. This allows us, as veterinarians, to keep your pet protected from disease without compromising your pet’s health with over vaccination. Don’t get me wrong, our pets are living longer and healthier because of vaccines and they should continue to be vaccinated appropriately.

Discuss titering with your veterinarian at your next visit. Even if your pet is not due for vaccines this year, an annual exam is still needed. Senior pets should be examined twice a year. We can’t keep them healthy if they don’t come to see us!

Blog Written by:
Holly Kiernicki, DVM
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice and In Home Euthanasia 

Dr. Holly services the great Dallas, Texas area including: 
~ Frisco ~ Denton ~ Allen ~ Fairview
~ Dallas ~ McKinney ~Celina ~ Little Elm
~ Plano ~ The Colony ~ Carrollton ~ Heath
~ Prosper ~ Richardson ~ Rowlett ~ Wylie
~ Garland ~ Mesquite ~ Rockwall ~ Highland Park

(Blog Posted by Mary Gardner, DVM)

1 comment:

  1. Also they need to be fresh, not rancid or spoiled. One would assume this is obvious but the fact is that commercial pet foods can use the leftovers and rejects from the production of human foodsCanine Cataracts


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