Vacine Titer Test

Vacine Titer Test

Do you vaccinate your adult pet once a year or once every three years? Of course, Rabies must be given regularly by law. But, what to vaccinate your adult pet for and how often isn’t as simple as it used to be.

Of course, you want to follow your veterinarian’s guidelines. What part of the country you live in also will dictate what your pet should be vaccinated for. If your pet will be traveling, you will want to investigate what diseases are prevalent in the area to which you are going.

What is the concern about over vaccinating? “Vaccines can definitely cause cancer”, says Luci T. Dimick, DVM, of The Ohio State University. Vaccines can make pets sick and lethargic and induce diarrhea. “The most common adverse reactions are mild and short-term, including reduced appetite, fever, and swelling at the point of injection. Allergic reactions appear within minutes or hours and may include vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, and difficulty breathing” says Kate Creevy, DVM, is a specialist in small animal internal medicine at the University of Georgia.

How do we know if we are over vaccinating and/or if our pet needs to be vaccinated?

Do you know what a vaccine titer test is? This test is becoming more popular in the main stream small animal clinics and has been used by the holistic vets for a long time.A titer is a laboratory, or in-house, veterinary test measuring the existence and level of antibodies (necessary to fight off disease) in your pet’s blood. It sounds like it’s a test that will tell you whether or not you actually need to vaccinate your pet. But, the results are not always interpreted that way. Nancy Kerns, editor of the Whole Dog Journal was told this by one of her veterinarians, “There is no way to know what titers numbers are protective,” the vet stated, and added that “even dogs with positive titers can contract disease.” So what good is it to administer a test if the results are open to interpretation?

According to Kerns, a titer test “is a very useful tool that can help an owner gain solid information about whether her dog is likely to be protected against the most common infectious diseases. Positive test results can also give a dog owner some solid ammunition for countering those who blindly promote (or require, in the case of some boarding or training facilities) so-called current vaccinations, which can mean many different things to different people.”

Getting a titer test done has always been a very expensive endeavor. However, recently new tests have been brought to market that can be done in the veterinarian’s office while you and your pet wait. They generally cost around $100.00, which is significantly less than the older tests that must go out to a lab.

More and good, information always helps to make better decisions. Ask your vet on your next yearly physical date what he or she thinks about a vaccine titer test. It can’t hurt to find out how your vet feels about it. Then you can make an informed decision regarding what is best for your pet.

Why is this so important?

Because of what can happen if you over-vaccinate your pet! “Vaccinosis”, the name for the chronic disease, is caused by continued use of vaccines. These symptoms mimic the original disease in parts.

The most basic method for a titer is where your pet’s blood is drawn and sent away for testing. It ranges anywhere from $150 to $200. The most affordable method is the new “in house” testing procedure. This test is preformed at the vet clinic and it takes about 20mins to get the results. The price range is anywhere from $60 to $80!

According to, “Although titer testing may cost somewhat more than vaccination in the short run, it is a bargain long term. Titers do not have to be repeated yearly or even every three years. By testing rather than vaccinating, you avoid the risk of adverse reactions from unnecessary vaccines and the accompanying cost of treatment.”