Titering?

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Postby SLS61185 » April 5th, 2009, 11:58 pm

I've seen it on here a lot lately... And this might be a "dumb" question.. But what in the hell is it and what does it mean? I'm by NO mean trying to start a debate on it or anything like that.. I just wanna know.
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Postby madremissy » April 6th, 2009, 12:02 am

Ditto??? :|
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Postby BullyLady » April 6th, 2009, 12:13 am

To "titer" a dog is to do a blood test which counts the antibodies to a certain disease, like rabies, distemper, parvo, leptospirosis, etc.... There is an established number of antibodies per (I believe) decilitre of blood that establishes the dog as being "immune" to the disease. If your dog has more antibodies than that number, the dog doesn't need to be vaccinated again, if it has less then it's time for another vaccination. Humans can get vaccine titers as well. :)
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Postby SLS61185 » April 6th, 2009, 12:24 am

Oh, okay. I gotcha, I think?
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Postby madremissy » April 6th, 2009, 12:29 am

And is there a certain age that titering would be ok to try? Or does it matter? I am very interested in this but can't understand what I looked up. Or could someone lead me someone where it is explained in terms I can understand?
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Postby BullyLady » April 6th, 2009, 12:38 am

There's no age, but you wouldn't want to titer unless the vaccination has been given in the first place, and there would be no reason to do it earlier than a year after the vaccine was given.
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Postby madremissy » April 6th, 2009, 12:55 am

I guess I worded that question wrong. :oops: I was thinking for Kinzyl (3) and Sammy (8).
Thanks for the info. :)
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Postby BullyLady » April 6th, 2009, 1:13 am

No, I knew what you meant. I was saying there is no age minimum or maximum, it depends more on what their vaccination history is!
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Postby hugapitbull » April 6th, 2009, 5:50 am

We travel a lot with Trouble and most hotels require the dog be up to date on vaccinations (although the majority of them never look at the paperwork). If you choose titering, is there some 'official' documentation that would satisfy the hotel requirements?
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Postby blabsforbullies » April 6th, 2009, 9:06 am

Also, there are some vaccines that have available titers for, and others that do not. Most commonly, we titer for distmeper and parvo. To the best of my knowledge, rabies titers are only offered for animals that are traveling abroad (side note: it is a HUGE process if you ever do this with your dog - plan WAY ahead and do your research because tests like this can take many weeks or more to get results :shock: ). Laboratories are reluctant to use rabies titers as a "guideline for boostering the vaccine" because of the public health concern and zoonotic (being transmissible to humans) potential, not to mention state laws. :wink:

I will say that although I do many titers for many clients, some veterinarians are not convinced that the numbers given actually represent protection. It gives a ratio of what should be protective, but every individual is different. I'm not trying to start a debate here :D , as I am a fan of titers, but just making the point that the titers are not infallible. :|
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Postby airwalk » April 6th, 2009, 10:38 am

Most states do not accept titer results for Rabies however. They require current vaccinations.
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Postby maberi » April 6th, 2009, 10:45 am

blabsforbullies wrote:I will say that although I do many titers for many clients, some veterinarians are not convinced that the numbers given actually represent protection. It gives a ratio of what should be protective, but every individual is different. I'm not trying to start a debate here :D , as I am a fan of titers, but just making the point that the titers are not infallible. :|


Great point Blabs. This is another reason that deciding whether to vaccinate or not is such a confusing topic for all involved.
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Postby mnp13 » April 6th, 2009, 10:46 am

hugapitbull wrote:We travel a lot with Trouble and most hotels require the dog be up to date on vaccinations (although the majority of them never look at the paperwork). If you choose titering, is there some 'official' documentation that would satisfy the hotel requirements?


We have a notarized letter from the vet on office letterhead that states that Connor is unable to receive vaccinations due to a medical condition but has been tested by the vet and is immune to xyz.

New York state does not recognize titers for rabies, but supposedly a letter from the vet will get you out of that as well, we haven't tried that though. He's good for rabies for another year, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

BullyLady wrote:There's no age, but you wouldn't want to titer unless the vaccination has been given in the first place, and there would be no reason to do it earlier than a year after the vaccine was given.

I would disagree with this. One of the women in my dog club does not vaccinate her dogs for anything, however, she brings them around freshly vaccinated dogs. She said that vaccinated dogs "shed" the disease for a certain amount of time after the vaccination is given. I have no idea if there is medical proof for this, but she has titered her dogs and all of them show immunity to diseases they have never gotten a vaccination for.

I am not saying I agree with this protocol, I think it is very risky, but I'm just sharing what someone I know does.
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Postby madremissy » April 6th, 2009, 10:48 am

Thanks, Dr. Blabs you have given me more to think about. Kinzyl and Sammy had a 3 year rabies last year and are UTD on their regular vaccines. I am going to have to get the kennel cough vaccine for Kinzyl when I board her in August. At least I would think I would want to get that. :confused:
I was just curious because of Sammy's age and his reaction to things sometimes. (ex: flea control). He has never had a reaction before to the vaccines (at least I never noticed because I never knew there could be a reaction :oops:) He is always tired I do know that.
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Postby airwalk » April 6th, 2009, 3:19 pm

Michelle, I know in the State of Oregon, we don't accept a Titer for Rabies. Here you need a letter from your vet stating your dog is exempt due to XYZ condition that makes vaccinating for rabies ill advised.


Missy - some boarding sites require current Bordatella so you might want to check to be absolutely certain
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Postby blabsforbullies » April 6th, 2009, 9:11 pm

mnp13 wrote:I would disagree with this. One of the women in my dog club does not vaccinate her dogs for anything, however, she brings them around freshly vaccinated dogs. She said that vaccinated dogs "shed" the disease for a certain amount of time after the vaccination is given. I have no idea if there is medical proof for this, but she has titered her dogs and all of them show immunity to diseases they have never gotten a vaccination for.

I am not saying I agree with this protocol, I think it is very risky, but I'm just sharing what someone I know does.


I know of no medical or scientific data/proof that any disease is shed in the feces such that someone else could gain protection from it. :confused: My guess, although it is only a guess, is that the dog may have some protection from maternal antibodies for some period of time, or there is another explanation that we aren't privy to (maybe the dog was actually exposed to a dog that had a mild form of the disease, or it had a mild form of a disease...there has to be some reasonable explanation :| ). Seriously, dogs do not shed anything that is going to provide immunity or else we would all be doing it. :wink: It doesn't aerosolize, so it cannot be transmitted that way (most don't survive being outside the body anyway). And if ingested, it would be degraded by the stomach contents. I'm not doubting what she told you, but the science just isn't there, and you are right, it is a very risky, to say the least, protocol. >(
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Postby mnp13 » April 6th, 2009, 9:22 pm

blabsforbullies wrote:I know of no medical or scientific data/proof that any disease is shed in the feces such that someone else could gain protection from it. :confused: My guess, although it is only a guess, is that the dog may have some protection from maternal antibodies for some period of time, or there is another explanation that we aren't privy to (maybe the dog was actually exposed to a dog that had a mild form of the disease, or it had a mild form of a disease...there has to be some reasonable explanation :| ). Seriously, dogs do not shed anything that is going to provide immunity or else we would all be doing it. :wink: It doesn't aerosolize, so it cannot be transmitted that way (most don't survive being outside the body anyway). And if ingested, it would be degraded by the stomach contents. I'm not doubting what she told you, but the science just isn't there, and you are right, it is a very risky, to say the least, protocol. >(


It's certainly not something I would do, but she hasn't lost any puppies to Parvo, Distemper or any other nastiness.

I only brought it up because her dogs do titer for the diseases and they have never had shots.
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Postby call2arms » April 6th, 2009, 9:40 pm

I don't know that a vaccine would ''shed''... Your dog getting a vaccine for rabies will not in any way make it shed some rabies into the environment (thank god) partially because it's a killed vaccine but also because it is injected and is directly attacked by the immune system, so there's not really a way that it's going to go in the feces or mucus or body fluids, unlike the actual live & kicking bacteria/organism in disease, like parvo or lepto...

Titering without vaccination means that one way or another they've been exposed to the disease, vaccinated dog or not (most likely not). Some friends from class had to undergo Tuberculosis tests before they went to do internships in labs, and had they been vaccinated, exposed or sick form it they'd have reacted to the test, but none did.
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Postby blabsforbullies » April 6th, 2009, 9:52 pm

mnp13 wrote:It's certainly not something I would do, but she hasn't lost any puppies to Parvo, Distemper or any other nastiness.

I only brought it up because her dogs do titer for the diseases and they have never had shots.


Oh, I know you weren't suggesting to follow it! :wink: I think she has been lucky not to have serious problems, and I agree with call2arms... there had to be some exposure somewhere. :neutral: Either way, it is always interesting to hear how people "deal" with the issue of vaccines and titering. :P Like I have said before, I learn something new everyday! :dance:
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Postby SisMorphine » April 6th, 2009, 11:34 pm

hugapitbull wrote:We travel a lot with Trouble and most hotels require the dog be up to date on vaccinations (although the majority of them never look at the paperwork). If you choose titering, is there some 'official' documentation that would satisfy the hotel requirements?

Every single boarding facility I have ever worked at, including traditional veterinary hospitals, has accepted titers for Distemper and Parvo. They do give you a print out of the results, if you ask.

mnp13 wrote:New York state does not recognize titers for rabies, but supposedly a letter from the vet will get you out of that as well, we haven't tried that though. He's good for rabies for another year, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the State of Massachusetts [starts singing the Dropkick Murphys in her head] a vet CAN write a note to go along with a rabies titer, but that leaves the vet completely exposed, and if that dog bites a human, dog, cat, etc without the vaccine, the vet that wrote the exemption note is screwed.

I know of no vet who will take that chance unless the animal has a severe health issue.
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