It was last week when I checked the mail box and had a little post card reminding me that my almost two year old cat Gidget was due for her ‘annual vaccinations’. Previously, I wouldn’t have even thought twice, I would have booked my pet in for the vet at the next available time to get it done and dusted for another year. Well, how things have changed.
It has almost been a full two years since the day I first learnt about titer testing and since then, my dogs have gone almost two years without needing another ‘booster’. At that moment when I had that little post card in my hand for Gidget, I thought, can she be titer tested to avoid having another lot of vaccinations through her system unnecessarily?
The answer is YES she can.
What is TITER TESTING?
In the short answer, titer testing is a test conducted to measure the presence and level of antibodies in an animal’s blood for particular infectious agents. W, Jean Dodds DVM describes that the presence of a measurable antibody indicates the presence of “immune memory”, this in turn “signifies protection from disease”. Basically, if the titer test returns at a high enough positive, it indicates that your animal still has protection from that specific disease and thus does not require another vaccination.
Why TITER TEST?
When you think logically about vaccinating and titer testing, it doesn’t make sense to continually vaccinate our animals if there is already enough antibodies in the system to protect against the disease.
This same logic applies to humans; When I was in the Police Academy, it was a requirement to receive a Hepatitis vaccination if you did not have the appropriate antibody measure in your system. I was given a blood test, returned a positive result, which enabled me to avoid the vaccination.
What Is The Issue With Vaccinations?
More and more research is indicating that OVER VACCINATING (Vaccinating when your pet does not require it) is causing more and more issues in our pets, especially where adverse reactions are concerned. For most vet clinics, the SAME dose of vaccination given to a 50kg Rottweiler is the SAME dose given to a 4kg Pomeranian.
For an excellent article by W, Jean Dodds DVM, about vaccinations and the concerns associated with it, click here.
What Did I Do?
After explaining the benefits of titer testing to my vet, it wasn’t long before they began implementing the test in their practice for dogs. However, its fairly apparent that we are a few steps behind when it comes to our feline friends. In this case, I had to do a little bit of research to locate a practice in my area that offered the same test for cats. Gidget was titer tested a week later at Animal Options Vet Clinic in Ormeau on the Gold Coast.
How Much Did It Cost?
It cost me $140.00 AUD to have the titer test conducted with a full health check which covered her weight, check on her ears and teeth, a chat about her diet and every day activity.
What Were Gidget’s Results?
Apart from being pleasantly surprised that the vet was happy with Gidget’s full species appropriate diet of raw food, Gidget returned an extremely high titer test result of all 6’s. This is the highest level of antibody measure.
It was in that moment I knew I had done the right thing by Gidget, she now does not require another titer for 1-2 years and avoided unnecessary vaccinations. This decision may be a decision that avoids an adverse reaction or the development of a disease, which ultimately could give me another year with her in the long run.