Health & Medical

Ask a Vet: Can Titer Tests Cut Down Routine Vaccinations?

Titer tests are getting popular. Can they really replace routine vaccinations and what are the risks involved? Dr. Brian Loon helps shed light on this issue

Q. Titer tests seem to be getting popular. Is it true that they can check whether my dog needs her routine booster shots, and are they expensive?

Dr. Brian Loon: Vaccinations are an essential component of preventative healthcare for all dogs and cats.

Vaccination protocols used to involve a set of puppy vaccinations, followed by vaccination boosters once a year for life.

Titer tests

Today, advancements in veterinary diagnostics allow us to perform VacciCheck, an in-house titer blood test to measure antibody levels for the three viruses that core vaccinations protect against.

They are namely Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Hepatitis Virus, and Canine Parvo Virus. Positive titers indicate sufficient protection against these viruses.

Considerations

You can consider the test if your adult dog has been receiving an appropriate schedule of vaccinations in previous years.

The test results, coupled with an evaluation of the pet’s health status, pre-existing conditions, lifestyle, and risk of coming into contact with infectious diseases, can help you decide whether to give a vaccination booster. Thus avoiding the rare but potentially severe risks of adverse reactions associated with vaccinations.

However, two components of vaccines commonly given in Singapore, namely Kennel Cough and Leptospirosis, are not tested for in the VacciCheck test.

Therefore, it is crucial that your veterinarian discusses the risks involved with you before deciding whether a vaccination booster or a vaccine antibody titer test is the most suitable.

Cost

Amber Vet has been a pioneer in integrating VacciCheck with the annual health assessment since 2013. The fee for VacciCheck at Amber Vet is similar to that of a vaccination.


Photo credit: md_apartment_photos via Small Kitchen / CC BY-SA

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Dr. Brian Loon
Principal Veterinary Surgeon at Amber Vet
BSc. BVMS (Hons) (Murdoch), Certificate Veterinary Acupuncture (IVAS)

Dr. Brian Loon graduated from Murdoch University, Western Australia in 2007 and has since been practising as a small animal veterinarian in Singapore. His areas of special interest include diagnostic ultrasonography, endoscopy, and minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery (laparoscopy).

He is also certified in Veterinary Acupuncture with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) and a certified and registered member of PennHIP, an internationally known modality for diagnosing hip dysplasia in cats and dogs.
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