Vaccinations - How often?
Some people are skeptical about giving their pet vaccinations annually, as it has been required in the past thanks to the new term “titering" [pronouced "tie-ter-ing"]. To titer is the process of taking blood to test whether antibodies for a certain disease are still present. If there are enough antibodies, this means there is a low level of exposure to contracting a disease. However, titering is an expensive process of blood drawing and testing that is becoming very popular for our fur babies.
But, is this progressive thinking an effective way to gauge protection? The whole purpose of doing this blood test is to minimize the amount of vaccine your pet receives by using a vaccine substitute. Many experts agree that titers do not indicate protection. However, they are useful in legal and regulation circumstances. For instance, tithers can tell you whether a pet has been vaccinated in the past.
Vaccinations are still necessary
Vaccinations reduce the spread of dangerous diseases such as Rabies and Parvovirus. However, many veterinarians encourage annual vaccinations and thus, we have become accustomed to administering them annually. Moreover, this is often a standard requirement to attend boarding or grooming facilities. But human medical professions know that it is better to vaccinate as infrequently as possible while still giving your fur-baby the protection they need. In fact, too many vaccinations can be harmful. Research shows that the over use of vaccinations in cats can produce sarcomas, a form of cancer. In dogs, vaccinosis is a broad term to describe degenerative health issues also due to over vaccinating. Because of the large quantities of vaccine-related illnesses, specialist vet care committees were established to determine safe frequencies of vaccinations. They have concluded that a three-year protocol is effective and acceptable now. However, some smaller veterinary clinics are not on board yet due to the decrease of income it may cause them.
Titering is a compromise for intelligent and informed pet owners. They can integrate the three-year protocol and use titer tests in between to make sure their pet's antibody levels are strong. Here’s the catch: in clinical trials, some pets have shown a negative titer test but have lots of cell-mediated immunity. Although results of cell-mediated immunity is the truest test of protection for your fur-baby, there is no common place test for animals to measure cell-mediated immunity.
Keep track of vaccinations
Pet owners should not fear vaccinations, nor fear that they are putting their fur-babies at risk of illness. However, it is prudent for pet owners to keep track of their pet's vaccinations. Knowing dates of vaccines for your pet can avoid over-vaccinating and give you many happy years with them.
Sources: PetMed.com, Dr. Patty Khuly