Titers Testing – Tell Me More

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Protective vaccines are an integral part of the wellness care for our dogs.  There are risks and potential repercussions to over and under vaccinating.  As a result, many pet owners and veterinarians are using blood testing/vaccination titers to help determine the need for booster vaccinations and to determine the level of protection.
Vaccine titers are the measure of the antibodies in the blood stream to a particular disease.  Each disease is tested separately.  Vaccine titer testing can be done by several different blood tests (VN-virus neutralization, HI-hemagglutination inhibition, ELISA-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).
HI and VN are the gold standard of testing and are done only through a few labs and veterinary schools.
A protective level is considered a titer of: Distemper >= 1:32 by VN
A protective level is considered a titer of: Parvo >= 1:80 by HI
The ELISA test is considered a screening test and is more economical and more readily available.  ELISA testing has been evaluated to confirm that a positive result is equivalent to the protective titer level as measured by VN or HI.
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Titer Testing: A Crash Course
June 7 2012
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Titers: What Do They Mean?
June 2013
Comment by Will Falconer, DVM (holistic) – Austin TX
Well said, and what I’d written about years ago on alt4animals.com (updated version: http://vitalanimal.com/fallacy-of-titer-tests/).  Key take away is to not misuse the information that a titer test gives you: a low titer does NOT equal a low immunity in a multiply-vaccinated dog.  Useful if you know the limits of the test and use it judiciously.  Dangerous if you see a falling titer later in life and think, “Oh oh, Spot is no longer immune — I’d better get more vaccinations!”  It seems many respected experts in vet medicine still don’t get this point.
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Fallacy of Titer Tests
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Titer Test: Don’t Vaccinate Your Dog Unnecessarily
October 22 2008
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More On Vaccine Titers
July 11 2012
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Take the Titer Test
Be certain your veterinarian sends blood samples to a major professional veterinary laboratory such as Antech Diagnostics (www.antechdiagnostics.com), Idexx Laboratories (www.idexx.com), Vita-Tech Laboratories (www.vita-tech.com), or one of the major university veterinary laboratories, including Cornell, Colorado State, Michigan State, Tufts, and Texas A&M.
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How do you get your dog’s titers tested?

Many major labs and universities perform titer tests.  Your vet likely has a favorite lab and can draw blood and send it for testing for you.  Note: some veterinarians resist performing these tests and, as a result, charge more than the going rate at other practices.  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.  The more expensive rabies titer need be performed only under special circumstances (such as international travel) or to determine immunity of animals with rabies vaccination exemptions.

Large commercial and university labs perform titer testing.  Prices vary.

Jean Dodds, DVM, is a highly respected veterinary hematologist as well as a pioneer against over-vaccination.
http://www.hemopet.org/education/jean-dodds-veterinarian.html
She performs titer tests at her Hemopet lab and interprets results.
11561 Salinaz Avenue, Garden Grove, CA 92843
Phone: 714-891-2022 | Fax: 714-891-2123
hemopet@hotmail.com
The cost (subject to change without notice) is $52 for both distemper and parvo (tested together) and rabies for $98.  Add to that the cost of a blood draw from your vet and sending by mail.  Note: Most vets will send the results to any lab you specify.

Two inexpensive and quick in-clinic titer tests are now available at a growing number of practices.
VacciCheck for CDV, CPV-2, and CAV-2.  TiterCHEK®, determines antibody levels to Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and Canine Parvovirus (CPV) in canine serum or plasma samples.  For a comparison, read what WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group Chariman Michael J. Day has to say about the two tests.  Both provide results in about 20 minutes.

Both test kit systems have been validated independently and correlated with gold standard tests by a number of diagnostic laboratories: the TiterCHEK® system (manufactured by Synbiotics and now owned and distributed by Pfizer) and the VacciCheck system (produced by Biogal Laboratories).  TiterCHEK® provides a yes-no (protected or not protected) answer for CDV and CPV.  VacciCheck provides a semiquantitative score for serum antibody titres against CDV, CAV and CPV.

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A Comparison of Vaccination Protocols For Dogs
by Dr. Robert L. Rogers, CritterAdvocacy, Houston TX.
E-mail: drbob@critteradvocacy.org
http://www.critteradvocacy.org/Are%20We%20Over%20Vaccinating%20Our%20Pets.htm
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The Dark Side of Pet Vaccination
http://youtu.be/2nZ5m5uzzac

 

Vaccinating Dogs: Has Your Vet Withheld the Facts?
http://youtu.be/5s4s33Spdfw

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The following information on Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
is for reference only:

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Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
College Station Laboratory
PO Box Drawer 3040
College Station TX  77841-3040

Phone 979.845.3414
Toll Free 888.646.5623
Fax 979.845.1794
After-hours emergency pager: 979.324.4652
If you have questions specific to client log-in services and support, please send a message to: support@tvmdl.tamu.edu.
All other questions can be addressed by calling 888.646.5623

Courier/GPS Address
1 Sippel Rd.
College Station, TX 77843
Driving DIRECTIONS to College Station Lab

Hours of Operation
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday morning specimen drop-off,  8 a.m. – 12 noon

Directions

The TVMDL College Station Lab at
1 Sippel Road
is located behind the Vet school, just off University Drive.
Driving DIRECTIONS to College Station Lab

Driving west down University Drive, go under the overpass at Wellborn Road.  At the next light, take a right onto Agronomy Road.  Take the first left off Agronomy Road into a parking lot.  Drive through this parking lot until it dead ends.  TVMDL will be the building on your right.  You may park in either of the two spaces marked “TVMDL Visitor Parking” or in one of the two spaces marked “Specimen Dropoff” in front of TVMDL.

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