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Old 02-07-2012, 10:19 PM
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Default Titers vs. Vaccines

How do you go about asking your vet to do titers instead of vaccines? I'm assuming it's probably not "normal", as most owners probably don't know what titers are.

Luckily, I really love our vet and they do have a holistic veterinarian on staff (as well as they sell THK in the lobby!) and I've seen titers mentioned on that section of the website. But she is not our personal veterinarian.

Anyways, it's a little ways off, as Jackson turns 4 in October but I do not plan on vaccinating him again except for rabies as required by law. He has received DHPP at 8 weeks, DHLPP at 12 weeks (BAD bad bad reaction to lepto, so never again will he get that), DHPP at 15 weeks, then we did not get the rabies vac until about 7 months. THEN he got a DHPP booster at one year old as well as rabies booster (on a different day). Oh and he has had two bordatella in his life, which I'm unsure I'll ever do again. He did have kennel cough twice but it cleared up quickly enough (both times he had been non-utd on bordatella).

So, when it comes time to setting the appt, do you ask about titers ahead of time? What is the protocol for this when it comes to dog events and facilities where they ask for shot records, do you show them the titer records?

Also, from what I understand about titers, the memory cells have to be activated to show proper immunity. So before you have the titers drawn, walking the dog around a Petsmart or a park where other dogs have walked around for a few days before the test is recommended? This gets their immune system up and running so the titer will be accurate. If the dog has just been in your backyard and not exposed to other dogs at all, there's a chance the titer may come back unacceptably low - even though the dog DOES have immunity, if that makes sense. This is apparently one downfall of the titers. A dog could be successfully immune against parvo/distemper/rabies but it might not show on the titer test if the memory cells are dormant and haven't been activated. Know anything about this?
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:56 PM
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I would just ask when making the appointment if they would be able to run titers instead of doing the vaccinations. It's just a simple blood draw so shouldn't be a big deal in terms of needing a longer appt or anything... but some clinics just automatically draw up whatever vaccines the dog is due for before they even speak to the owner; so the heads up to NOT do that would probably be appreciated.

It also shouldn't matter which doc you see at that clinic, they'll all be able to send it out to the same place

As far as facilities that require vaccinations, if you frequent any places like that I would be sure to ask them ahead of time if they will accept titers. I don't plan on vaccinating Juno anymore, but she does go to daycare on occasion, so when the time comes I'm going to have to see what their policy is on that. Unfortunately I am suspecting that titers won't be enough "proof" for them.

I haven't heard that last bit before... sounds kinda weird, I'd think that if a dog has sufficient immunity, then he has sufficient immunity, period. Regardless of how he spent yesterday afternoon. My impression though is that Jackson gets out and about a lot anyway so even if it IS true.... I don't think you'd have much to worry about there.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:23 AM
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Sassy and Jack were both vaccinated for rabies and FVRCP/DHPP (respectively) by the rescue.

I re-vaccinated Sassy a year later for rabies and FVRCP (because I was dumb), and she had a terrible, terrible vaccine reaction. Of course, because they were done at the same time, I have no way of knowing which one caused the reaction, so she's done being vaccinated permanently. I had her titers and general bloodwork done in October, and the titers showed adequete immunity, but the bloodwork showed really low WBC and PCV and a whole host of other things that are related to an immune system disorder - she's on supplements/medications for it now, and her levels are good, but I still wouldn't want to risk vaccinating her. I'm planning on doing rabies every three years as required by law for Jack, but nothing else. I'm going with an every 2-3 years titer schedule, which is what my vet recommends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JacksonsMom View Post
How do you go about asking your vet to do titers instead of vaccines?
I have a completely holistic vet (she practices very little traditional medicine), and she recommends titers over vaccines always. So...I didn't really have to ask lol.

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Originally Posted by JacksonsMom View Post
So, when it comes time to setting the appt, do you ask about titers ahead of time?
I would, just so they know what to expect. If they do titers regularly, they should have everything on hand, but I would let them know so they're prepared. Many clinics draw up the typical vaccines prior to the client's arrival to save time, so they would probably appreciate knowing that they don't have to do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JacksonsMom View Post
What is the protocol for this when it comes to dog events and facilities where they ask for shot records, do you show them the titer records?
I would call ahead of time to explain that you have titer records instead of shot records - some people don't know what that means or how to interpret them, and they may require a letter from your veterinarian to accompany the titer records. It is up to the individual event/facility's discretion on whether they will accept titers or not - but I haven't heard of too many (at least around here) that won't.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:44 PM
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Justa-which clinic do you use?
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:58 PM
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When I call to make an appointment, they list what the dog is due for, and when they say "distemper and parvo boosters" I just tell the receptionist that I want titers instead. Never had anyone argue. One of my vets even said "this is better medicine than just giving the booster, but most clients don't want to pay for it".

I have yet to find a place that asked for vaccine records that didn't allow titers. I find many places say something along the lines of "vaccinations required as discussed with your vet" or something along those lines. I don't do daycare or kennels with my dogs, so I'm not sure about places like that.

I know exposure can bump up your dog's titer, but I've never heard that *not* exposing them right before a titer will result in failing it. I think generally if they "fail", it means they are below the recommended level of protection. If they are below, I want to know so I can make an informed choice about what to do next.
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:51 PM
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K, awesome, guys. Thanks.

Yeah, I'm not too worried. Jackson is out and about all the time anyways so I'm sure that part will be fine.

He also is never kenneled or boarded or goes to daycare, but I did not know for the future if I ever needed proof of any of these vaccines, if it would matter. Like, the one time he got sick, and stayed overnight in hospital, they asked about vaccines first before accepting him, so yeah I didn't know if it would become a problem but I doubt it.

We'll work with it because I feel much more confident in not vaccinating him than having him overloaded. Of course I guess no way around rabies every 3 years though.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringerLover View Post
Justa-which clinic do you use?
I'll PM you.
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