Titre testing means to test an animal’s blood to see if they have sufficient protection against infectious disease that they do not require vaccination against that disease. It involves taking a blood sample which is then sent to a specialist lab who measure the amount of antibodies present specific to each individual infectious agent. Currently titre testing is available for canine distemper virus, canine infectious hepatitis and canine parvovirus and we offer this service at all of our branches.
Our Vaccination Policy
South Moor Vets vaccination policy is in line with the recommendations of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (https://www.wsava.org/guidelines/vaccination-guidelines) and the Vaccine data sheets (available here: https://www.noah.co.uk/) and as such we recommend vaccinating against Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus every 3 years, and against Leptospirosis yearly. A separate Kennel Cough vaccine is available and we recommend it is given yearly, although not all dogs are at high risk of kennel cough infection, so this can be discussed on an individual basis with your veterinary surgeon.
If a titre test shows that your animal has sufficient antibody levels that they can be considered immune to an infectious agent, they do not need to currently be revaccinated against that agent. However, these antibody levels can drop off with time and so repeating titre testing at regular intervals (eg yearly, 18-month or two yearly) is recommended so that you know if a booster vaccination is required.
As there is not currently a titre test available for leptospirosis, we recommend ongoing yearly vaccination against it. Of the core infectious diseases other than kennel cough that we can vaccinate against, leptospirosis is the one that we still see most cases of. It is a very dangerous infection that can result in death or life-threatening organ failure, and if we do so it, it tends to be in unvaccinated dogs, so we strongly recommend your pets are protected against it. Leptospirosis is spread by wildlife (rats, mice, foxes, badgers) and is found in stagnant waterways. As we live in a rural area and there are lots of farms around, infection is definitely a risk for unvaccinated dogs.
As a practice we understand why some people may have concerns about vaccination and we appreciate that you have your pet’s best interests at heart. However we think that the majority of those concerns are unfounded and that is why we continue to recommend vaccination. Although we cannot say vaccinations are 100% safe (very few if any medical interventions are), we consider them to be generally very low risk, and see very few vaccination reactions in animals under our care. Those that we do see are almost all minor, such as short-lived flu like symptoms or a transient swelling at the vaccination site. These are usually treated with anti-inflammatories or require no treatment at all. Major vaccination reactions such as collapse or severe illness are vanishingly rare. Our opinion is that the risk posed by these infectious diseases (severe illness or death in most cases) is far greater than that posed by vaccines. It is only through widespread vaccination of cats and dogs over the last 30 years that we have managed to reduce the incidence of these diseases to the point where most people have no experience of them. Prior to vaccination becoming commonplace, these infections were regularly seen in the UK pet population.
Please feel free to discuss vaccination and titre testing in more detail with a member of our veterinary team. We believe in giving people all the options and allowing them to make an informed decision regarding their pet’s health.