Titer Levels?

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Postby MegN » January 14th, 2010, 11:48 am

OK, so I my vet just got the results back from my dog (Woody) and the levels are very very low. Woody was a foster that I couldn't let go so he is now part of the family. He had a horrible case of mange, about 80% of his hair was gone, he has been on Ivermectin for about 3 months and has about 2 weeks left.
So the vet would like to give him his shots, which it seems as though he has never gotten any of his puppy shots, so I feel he totaly needs these. My question, a month after he gets his shots, the vet would also like to do another round of boosters. Is this something I should do? Need some advice.

I am aware that dogs with mange can have a compromised immune system, so I would not want to over do it.
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Postby Malli » January 14th, 2010, 1:54 pm

My undestanding is that it is not fully understood what a Titer level indicates at this point, so I would be tempted to at least get the puppy series and the one year (or whenever the vet thinks it should get done, since he's not a baby any more) for a solid immunity.

That being said, I always like to err on the side of caution and my dog is fully vaccinated to my vet's recommendations.
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Postby maberi » January 14th, 2010, 2:37 pm

Malli wrote:That being said, I always like to err on the side of caution and my dog is fully vaccinated to my vet's recommendations.


Do you know if your vet suggests different protocols for dogs with compromised immune systems? I understand that may not be the case with Oscar, but I was just wondering if vets change their recommendations based on this fact.
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Postby HappyChick » January 14th, 2010, 2:53 pm

It's really a tough decision under those circumstances. We are dealing with a similar situation with Celena right now. She has mange and skin infections, and had not had any shots when we got her a couple of months ago. She is only about 5 months old. She got her first set of shots, but the vet and I agreed to forego the boosters until the mange is better. My understanding is that mange is a result of a compromised immune system. Continuing to introduce diseases into her compromised system via vaccinations is not the optimum solution. However, our vet says that dogs who HAVE had specifically the parvo vaccination are better equipped to fight parvo (should they contract it) than dogs who have never had the vaccination. FYI, there are multiple strains of parvo and leptospirosis out there and vaccines generally contain only the most prevalent strains so dogs can still contract one of the other strains. I THINK I have that right...

Anyway, as I said it's a tough decision. If you choose to get the initial round of shots, maybe you can ask for just parvo, lepto, and anything else you feel is absolutely necessary. You do not have to do the boosters on a strict schedule so could play that one by ear, depending on how Woody handles the first ones. Please also consider the prevalence of the different diseases in your particular location. Work together with your vet to figure out these things.

I think this is a good place to get information about vaccinations for pets (and people):

http://www.mercola.com/

You might also want to consider putting Woody on immune boosting supplements if you aren't doing it already. They will really help his immune system get stronger. I am not a pet health expert. I am learning as I go.

Good luck to you and Woody, whatever you decide to do!
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Postby Malli » January 14th, 2010, 5:02 pm

maberi wrote:
Malli wrote:That being said, I always like to err on the side of caution and my dog is fully vaccinated to my vet's recommendations.


Do you know if your vet suggests different protocols for dogs with compromised immune systems? I understand that may not be the case with Oscar, but I was just wondering if vets change their recommendations based on this fact.



I believe he does - one of my friends/ex-coworkers had a dog that he told her to no longer vaccinate and if I remember correctly he had an Immune issue. He would also probably recommend keeping the dog away from areas where other dogs go - I think it would most likely be a combination of the two. He would probably pair down the vaccine type and frequency as much as possible - but things like this can also depend on the owner and what they agree to, whats best for the dog is often quite hard on the pocketbook (multiple seperate vaccines SHOULD get a full exam with each shot), and with my personal vet he is also likely to try to give the person a break if they are doing the best thing for their dog and he knows its pricey.

It would depend on the Vet though - they are just like Doctors, most are painstakingly thoughtful with regards to their patient's health and every once in a while you'll get one that hasn't been keeping up with the studies or has their own ideas and does something completely different.

Its the first question he'll ask me when I ask if he should continue to be vaccinated for _____, "does he go where a lot of other dogs do?"

does that make sense? :)
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Postby Malli » January 14th, 2010, 5:08 pm

HappyChick wrote:It's really a tough decision under those circumstances. We are dealing with a similar situation with Celena right now. She has mange and skin infections, and had not had any shots when we got her a couple of months ago. She is only about 5 months old. She got her first set of shots, but the vet and I agreed to forego the boosters until the mange is better. My understanding is that mange is a result of a compromised immune system. Continuing to introduce diseases into her compromised system via vaccinations is not the optimum solution. However, our vet says that dogs who HAVE had specifically the parvo vaccination are better equipped to fight parvo (should they contract it) than dogs who have never had the vaccination. FYI, there are multiple strains of parvo and leptospirosis out there and vaccines generally contain only the most prevalent strains so dogs can still contract one of the other strains. I THINK I have that right...


Yes, thats right. They'll pick the most prevelant strains. But, I believe the thought is that the Immune system will have a better chance of fighting off ANY strain of the disease if Vaccinated for some of the strains. I think its mainly Leptospirosis and Bordatella (Kennel Cough) where there are so many strains, but don't quote me...
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Postby maberi » January 14th, 2010, 5:30 pm

Makes complete sense and it sounds like you have a wonderful vet

Malli wrote:I believe he does - one of my friends/ex-coworkers had a dog that he told her to no longer vaccinate and if I remember correctly he had an Immune issue. He would also probably recommend keeping the dog away from areas where other dogs go - I think it would most likely be a combination of the two. He would probably pair down the vaccine type and frequency as much as possible - but things like this can also depend on the owner and what they agree to, whats best for the dog is often quite hard on the pocketbook (multiple seperate vaccines SHOULD get a full exam with each shot), and with my personal vet he is also likely to try to give the person a break if they are doing the best thing for their dog and he knows its pricey.

It would depend on the Vet though - they are just like Doctors, most are painstakingly thoughtful with regards to their patient's health and every once in a while you'll get one that hasn't been keeping up with the studies or has their own ideas and does something completely different.

Its the first question he'll ask me when I ask if he should continue to be vaccinated for _____, "does he go where a lot of other dogs do?"

does that make sense? :)
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Postby blabsforbullies » January 15th, 2010, 12:40 pm

Just a quick note....

The reason that we have to do a "booster" vaccine is because of the way that the immune system works with respect to certain kinds of vaccines. When you vaccinate with certain types of vaccines, ie: distemper/parvo/lepto/lyme, the initial vaccine stimulates the immune system with a type of antibody that doesn't last long term. The next vaccine(s), or booster(s), stimulates the body to produce antibodies that last longer and will provide protection should your animal encounter the disease. :mrgreen: Some vaccines only need one dose (ie: the rabies that young animals get usually lasts for 1 year without a booster, but are then are boostered again at approx. 1 year of age), some need two boosters initially separated by a period of time apart(ie: lyme vaccines, lepto vaccines), and depending on the age of the animal and their immune systems, some require three initial vaccines(ie: distemper/parvo).

Vaccine titers are becoming more common, and the controversy surronding them is also out there. :confused: Some veterinarians feel the titers may not be indicative of "protection", while others are advocating them highly.

The bottom line is that you and your veterinarian have to decide what is best for you and your animals. :wink: You have to be informed of what risks you take with and without vaccinations, and what is acceptable for the both of you. :D There are years and years of studies to show what has proven to be effective with vaccines, and hopefully many more studies to show how vaccines have impacted our animal's health. But, every animal is different and those differences should be taken into consideration with respect to each individual vaccine protocol. :twocents:
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Postby Malli » January 15th, 2010, 1:53 pm

:clap:

I love it when you come in with all your information and knowledge!
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Postby maberi » January 15th, 2010, 2:11 pm

blabsforbullies wrote:The reason that we have to do a "booster" vaccine is because of the way that the immune system works with respect to certain kinds of vaccines. When you vaccinate with certain types of vaccines, ie: distemper/parvo/lepto/lyme, the initial vaccine stimulates the immune system with a type of antibody that doesn't last long term. The next vaccine(s), or booster(s), stimulates the body to produce antibodies that last longer and will provide protection should your animal encounter the disease. :mrgreen: Some vaccines only need one dose (ie: the rabies that young animals get usually lasts for 1 year without a booster, but are then are boostered again at approx. 1 year of age), some need two boosters initially separated by a period of time apart(ie: lyme vaccines, lepto vaccines), and depending on the age of the animal and their immune systems, some require three initial vaccines(ie: distemper/parvo).


Great info Blabs. It's nice to see that vets are not putting out cookie cutter vaccination schedules for all dogs, and the dog's health and lifestyle are taken into account.

Do you see many patients running titers after all of the puppy vaccines and boosters to ensure the dog has an adequate immune response? Do you see many cases where the vaccine is immunogenic or where a dog is non responsive?
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Postby blabsforbullies » January 15th, 2010, 2:48 pm

Malli wrote: :clap:

I love it when you come in with all your information and knowledge!


hahaha! I try to help when I can, but you do a great job yourself! :wink:

maberi wrote:
Great info Blabs. It's nice to see that vets are not putting out cookie cutter vaccination schedules for all dogs, and the dog's health and lifestyle are taken into account.

Do you see many patients running titers after all of the puppy vaccines and boosters to ensure the dog has an adequate immune response? Do you see many cases where the vaccine is immunogenic or where a dog is non responsive?


I do not see a lot of people that are doing titers after the initial puppy set. I often see people doing the 1 year old series, and then doing titers the following year. I do think that more people would do vaccine titers if they weren't cost prohibitive for a lot of people. >( Only certain titers exist, however. And there are some vaccines that will simply NOT last even the year that we hope they will. :bs:

I would say in most cases, the dog eventually becomes "unprotected" and we end up boostering the vaccine. I've had to do that many times. I also had a case where the dog got vaccines up until 3 years of age and the titers continued to be protective until the dog passed away at 15 (which I do want to say is incredibly uncommon).

This actually happened to me, and one of my Chihuahua's (hooeys), Goolosh :heartbeat: . He was a rescue, and had not had any vaccines (or anything else for that matter :mad2: ) until I rescued him at one year of age. In our case, I gave him two 4-way Distemper combo shots (no lepto), separated by 4 weeks when I first adopted him. I gave him another 4-way when he turned 2 without running a titer. I then titered him for Distemper and Parvo at age 3, and it was "protective". So I didn't give a vaccine. I then ran a titer at his 4 year mark, and his Parvo titer is still ok, but the Distemper one is considered "unprotective" and I will be boostering it in a few weeks (I often separate vaccines). I have his littermate, Penelope, but adopted her a few months earlier. She had the same vaccines, same maker of the vaccines, same timing of the vaccines, and exact same exposure, nutrition, etc since adoption. All things are essentially equal, and her titers are all ok at the 4 year mark. :| It really goes to show you that every dog is going to have it's own unique set of requirements for their vaccine schedule. This is also part of the reason why you don't see too many vaccine companies labeling their vaccines for a long duration of immunity. Why one dog has a 10 year duration and another not even 2year duration of immunity? So many factors play into that, but it will be the vaccine company that is ultimately responsible if the vaccine fails. That is a risk that they aren't willing to take....yet. :lookaround:
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Postby maberi » January 15th, 2010, 3:04 pm

blabsforbullies wrote: This is also part of the reason why you don't see too many vaccine companies labeling their vaccines for a long duration of immunity. Why one dog has a 10 year duration and another not even 2year duration of immunity? So many factors play into that, but it will be the vaccine company that is ultimately responsible if the vaccine fails. That is a risk that they aren't willing to take....yet. :lookaround:


I apologize for taking this completely off topic but those last sentences raised an eyebrow. Are vaccination companies liable if a dog has been properly vaccinated and still acquires a virus?
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Postby blabsforbullies » January 15th, 2010, 3:21 pm

It depends, but by liable, it would still be seen as property in a court of law. And the proof required would be rather extensive, I would imagine. And honestly, it would probably be the burden of the veterinarian to prove that the vaccine was at fault. Because the owner would just sue us and we would have to prove why we weren't at fault.

If you and your veterinarian have followed their recommendaitons to the T (ie: given the proper boosters at the proper intervals with proper storage and administration techniques, and done yearly vaccinations, which is their current recommendation, and had NO other health concerns that might suppress the immune system,etc), and your pet were to come down with the exact same strain of what they vaccinate for, they are certainly going to be interested in hearing that. I can say that, however, they state that no vaccine is 100%. I have yet to hear of such a case described above, nor has the hospital that I work at that has been in practice for over 40 years. Nonetheless, extending the label duration is a risk that they aren't going to take because of the variances in each individual's case.

I'm not saying that they are going to just roll over and say, "Ok! We messed up!" :wink:
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Postby Brownies Mom » January 15th, 2010, 9:04 pm

I don't know about immune system issues in general, but both of my vets recommended no vaccines for my dog that had cancer. :greenRibbon: Once we had the cancer "under control" so to speak, I chose to get him vaccinated for rabies anyhow, because we live in the country and he was exposed to wild animals so that was a very real possibility. Not for nothin', but I probably wouldn't have if he was solely an indoor dog.

It would depend on what my vet said, but I think I would probably want to go the separate vaccine route if my dog had a compromised immune system. But in my mind, having a compromised immune system is a good reason to give them the vaccination protection. Again, like others have said, it depends on what the dog is likely to be exposed to, and if it's something you can prevent exposure to so you can forego the vaccine, I would definitely do that if your vet approves.

When my dogs have issues, I try to educate myself before the initial vet visit so that I can ask questions and would be able to make the best decision if the vet were to give me options. Then I listen to my vet. Sometimes I make suggestions, but whatever the vet says is what goes. That's why I need to have a vet who respects my input and will discuss my questions and concerns with me. My husband is the exact opposite - he just wants the vet to tell him what to do. So do I, but not without my understanding why. (Which is why I take the dogs to the vet and leave him home.) :dance:

Good luck. If you educate yourself and make your decision with your dog's best interest at heart, know that you really are doing your very best. :hug3: It's all you can do.
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