Vaccinations are undoubtedly an essential component of any puppy’s health regimen. They provide your puppy with a barrier to potentially lethal viruses such as parvovirus and distemper. Recently, more discussion about the issue of over-vaccination has led to a growth in popularity for titre testing, a process which aims to reduce the need for vaccination in puppies.
What is Titre Testing?
Antibodies are the cells responsible for recognising and destroying dangerous cells in a puppy’s body. Titre testing is a lab procedure which analyses the levels of certain antibodies in your puppy’s blood.
By checking these levels against a sample from an unvaccinated puppy, titre testing can assess whether a puppy has sufficient immunity against a specific disease. For more information on titre testing generally, check our general guide here.
Why Use Titre Testing?
Usually, puppies will receive vaccinations according to a predetermined schedule. Depending on your puppy’s breed, size, socialisation, and genetic factors, this schedule may prescribe vaccinations too frequently, or not enough.
Titre Testing offers an alternative to this process. By testing your puppy’s immunity levels, it can determine whether your puppy is a sufficiently immune or if truly requires vaccinations. This can prevent unnecessary exposure to vaccines (which may cause reactions) and saves you some money in the process. Titre testing is, therefore, especially useful when a puppy’s vaccination history is unknown.
Is Titre Testing Better than Vaccination?
There is no question that vaccinations play a vital role in keeping your puppy safe, happy, and alive, however, the issue of annual revaccination is becoming increasingly debated. Should titre testing replace the need for annual and triannual vaccinations?
There are two main benefits of titre testing:
- Titre testing reduces over-vaccination
Evidence shows that certain vaccines provide sufficient immunisation from diseases for up to 3 years and longer. In addition, some vaccinations provide more short lived immunity than others. Because of this, many puppy owners and veterinarians are increasingly considering titre testing as an alternative to annual and triannual vaccinations.
- Titre Testing prevents unnecessary reaction to vaccinations
Some reported side-effects of vaccination include lethargy, site irritation, lack of appetite, fever, allergic reactions, autoimmune problems, sarcoma, and even tumours. While these vaccination side effects don’t occur in every puppy, if a puppy is sufficiently immune to a disease prior to vaccination, an additional vaccination only exposes them to risk unnecessarily.
As a result of these benefits, titre testing is definitely a legitimate alternative to regular vaccinations. Titre tests, however, do not provide your puppy with any additional immunity. They are not an alternative to vaccination, but rather, a tool to make them more effective. Thus, the question “Titre Testing vs Vaccination” would more appropriately be phrased “Titre Testing and Vaccination”.
When used in conjunction with vaccinations, titre testing can be a useful tool for reducing health risks for your puppy. Remember, all puppies are individual, and no one piece of advice can apply universally. Always consult your veterinarian before beginning a new treatment regimen to ensure that your puppy receives the best health care possible