What is titer testing
A titer test is a blood test that can be used to show whether your pet (still) has sufficient protection against certain diseases. We take a little bit of blood and can use a rapid antigen test to determine whether there are enough antibodies present.
A titer test instead of (haphazardly) vaccination
No, it’s not that simple. Vaccination is a very effective and safe method to prevent disease outbreaks and will remain necessary. A large study with a million dogs and half a million cats showed that most side effects of vaccinations are mild and disappear after a few days. Listlessness, pain at the injection site and complaints of the gastrointestinal tract are the most common and this occurs only in 0.25% of the animals. The risk of more serious complaints such as anaphylactic shock or autoimmune disease is much smaller and is about 0.01%. As far as we are concerned, fear of vaccination is therefore not necessary. However, a combination of vaccination and titration makes better customization possible. The most important thing is that after the titer test there is certainty whether or not the animal is protected and whether or not it should be vaccinated.
The titer test is only possible for diseases against which we already alternately vaccinate: Distemper , Parvo, Hepatitis and Panleukopenia (Feline Parvo). These are diseases that we vaccinate against every 3 years and not annually.
This means that your dog must still be vaccinated against Weil’s disease and Contagious dog cough and your cat for Cat Flu. If it turns out that there are insufficient antibodies from one of the above-mentioned diseases after the titre test, a combination vaccine will sometimes still have to be used. There is not a monovalent vaccine for every disease. There is a separate vaccine against Parvo and a combi vaccine Parvo/Distemper but Hepatitis only available in combination with Parvo and Distemper and Panleukopenia (Feline Parvo) in combination with Cat Flu.
Titer test in dogs
The titer test can be done annually in addition to the vaccination to check whether the DHP (Distemper, Hepatitis or Parvo) vaccination should be repeated. Note: Due to the lack of certain monovaccines, customization is not always possible.
Titer test in puppies or kittens
Titer tests cannot replace the standard puppy and kitten vaccinations. However, a titer test can be made 3-weekly to see when the vaccination is most likely to catch on. Puppies and kittens have received antibodies from their mother and as long as they are present, a vaccination will not catch on. By testing the titer 3-weekly, the right time of vaccination can be chosen. It regularly happens that dogs and cats are protectd from the aforementioned diseases for much longer than the usual interval of 3 years. It can also be used for verification to check whether a puppy or kitten has built up sufficient immunity. It is very important to have a titer test carried out after a vaccination to check whether a puppy or kitten has built up sufficient immunity. For this, a titer test must be made at least 4 weeks after the last puppy or kitten vaccination for the D=Distemper, P=Parvo and H=Hepatitis in puppies and Feline Parvo in the cat.
Titer test in cats
For cats, a titer test can only be performed for Panleukopenia (Feline Parvo). For Cat Flu this is not possible. Panleukopenia (Feline Parvo) is only vaccinated 1x every 3 years, not annually (in risk areas such as Amsterdam) such as Cat Flu.
Titer test after previous side effects by vaccination
If there has been a serious reaction in the past after vaccination, a titer test can offer a solution. A titer test may make it possible to further limit the number of vaccinations against DHP and Feline Parvo for this group.
How does it work and what are the costs
You first come to the vet for a health check and blood collection. During this consultation we can probably give the vaccinations for which we cannot test. If the titer test is negative for one of the diseases, we will schedule a consultation with the veterinay technician for you to give the other vaccinations.
In our clinic we work with the RapidSTATUS™ Titertest™. This test only requires a small amount of blood. We fill the blood tube with about a 0.5 ml of blood. We will use the rapid test the same day.
The cost of vaccination with titer testing is higher than if you only vaccinate. We advise to give the vaccinations for which no titer test is possible anyway. Weil’s disease is a dangerous infectious disease that can pass from animals to humans.
The excretion of Contagious dog cough and Cat Flu can also decrease sharply by vaccinating the population. Dogs with impaired immunesystem and dogs with breathing problems such as bulldogs can get into big trouble due to infection with contagious dog cough and Cat Flu can be very dangerous for unprotected cats have unpleasant lasting consequences. Indoor cats can also contract Cat Flu through the open window or from virus particles on your clothes.
There will be 2 consultations. One for the health check and the collection of the blood and one consultation where the vaccinations are given.
The total annual costs will then consist of a consultation with the veterinarian, the blood collection,the titer test, and the vaccinations that must be given as standard (against the diseases that do not qualify for a titer test) and possibly another consultation with the veterinary technician.
Why or why not have a titer test
- To determine whether the dog or cat is still protected by previous vaccinations
- In addition to the annual vaccination. To check whether a vaccination against DHP or Feline Parvo should be repeated
- In puppies and kittens, the moment can be determined where the maternal antibodies to DHP have disappeared and can be vaccinated at the right time. Some-times vaccination against DHP is no longer necessary for a long time afterwards
- To determine the response to vaccination in puppies and kittens, at least 4 weeks after the last vaccination. In case of no response, we can vaccinate with another vaccine
- In a dog or a cat that has previously had a severe reaction to a vaccination or that has underlying medical problems
- In a dog or a cat with an unknown vaccination status
- To save money
- Instead of vaccination