First off: What is a titer test?
A titer test is a simple blood test that can be used to determine whether your dog has achieved an immunity to certain diseases that are commonly vaccinated against.
Why would you want to run this test? Often titer tests are run by owners who want to offer a more naturalistic lifestyle for their dog. One that is free of excessive chemicals, unnecessary vaccinations, and artificial products. This is a great option for those who want to use dog boarding in Ft. Lauderdale but do not want to vaccinate.
But don’t dogs need their annual vaccines? Yes and no. Dogs do require their initial vaccines and their boosters. There is a debate as to how early these should be done, as they are significantly less effective when the puppies are in their first 12 weeks of life because they are still receiving antibodies from their mother’s milk. This means that the temporary antibodies from mom attack the vaccine instead of the puppy’s own immune system creating its own permanent antibodies.
Once these initial vaccines have been administered, the dog is often immune to the disease. This immunity is not, as was previously thought, just a passing phase. It is a life-long immunity. For dogs who are not immune or have a questionable immunity to the disease, it is prudent to revaccinate these dogs to ensure they have another chance to build up their immunity.
By assuming that dogs “lose” this immunity on an annual basis many dogs are exposed to unnecessary repeat vaccinations. This is something that veterinarians are realizing is a bad thing, as vaccinations do carry an increased risk of vaccination-related disorders, some of which are fatal. These veterinarians are realizing a 3 year re-vaccination period is much less stressful on the dog and decreases the risk of complications due to over-vaccination.
Why does my vet insist on annual boosters? Many veterinarians who insist on annual vaccinations do so for one of the following reasons:
- There is a high risk of this disease in your area.
- City bylaws require this vaccine on an annual basis.
- Titer testing has not been done or the levels indicate that there is low immunity.
- Unaware of the changing trends.
Unfortunately there is another reason that some vets insist on annual vaccines and that is that it is a huge part of their revenue. Thankfully there are significantly more veterinarians that would be appalled by this than those who practice it.
Titer testing is just starting to be recognized globally and is now accepted in place of annual vaccines for travel and many Ft. Lauderdale dog boarding facilities will accept a current titer test as well. Speaking to your veterinarian about titer testing is a good place to start, particularly for those with senior dogs as vaccinations can be very hard on their fragile health. If you’re not sure whether a facility accepts titer tests, call the Ft. Lauderdale dog boarding facility of your choice and ask before making reservations. They will be able to give you their full policies on vaccines and what your dog will need in order to be a guest.
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