Recently we have had several enquiries regarding Titre Testing. Many dog owners have been opting to have their dog’s blood tested before having vaccinations.

The theory behind this suggests that dogs immunity could be tested to see if vaccinations are required. I can understand – why pump a dog full of chemicals if it is not necessary? I have a few concerns which I have discussed with several reputable laboratories; my concerns are:

  • There are many claims on the internet that your dogs immune system can be tested for £6 – this is not true and certainly not reliable. The laboratory equipment needed to analyse the antibodies produced by your dogs immune system and to give an accurate reading on the levels of these means that only specialists in this field can perform these tests and interpret them accurately.
  • There is no titre test for Leptospirosis and Leptospirosis is present in Cornwall. It is in the rivers, in the fields, spread by cows, pigs, sheep, horses, dogs and rats! It is in the soil where these animals have been. Anyone who works or is involved with outdoor activities like swimming, rafting or kayaking are at risk. Anyone working outdoors can become infected, this includes farmers, vets and fishermen. All these people can be exposed to Leptospirosis.

It is in my opinion, and I am not paid by the vaccine companies to say, that in Cornwall I feel that all dogs should be vaccinated against Leptospirosis.

  • When we vaccinate a pet, we ask its immune system to respond by making antibodies. Unless we blood test all dogs after vaccinating we never know how well they respond.
  • We don’t know how long our dogs immunity lasts and we assume from tests that vaccine companies run it is at least 12 months. Some dogs immunity will last longer than this and some will not.
  • When you measure your dogs titre, it tells you how your dogs immunity is against that disease on the same day the blood is taken. It does not tell you how long that titre will remain at that level – 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 days?
  • Vaccines are designed to stimulate the immune system to encourage long lasting immunity – hopefully 12 months at least.

Vaccines are produced to protect our dogs against the diseases that are in the environment. These change as diseases change. Vaccine companies spend millions every year to make sure their vaccines are kept abreast of the latest diseases our dogs may meet.

Whilst there is a place for titre testing, it must be used properly and in the knowledge that it is only a snap shot of the immune system at the time of testing.

In my opinion you could be leaving your dog wide open to contracting diseases like Leptospirosis, Parvo and Distemper. As a Veterinary Nurse in the 80s, I have seen Parvo and Distemper and I don’t want to see that again in a hurry!

By all means make your own decisions. It is your choice – vaccinate or don’t but please do it with all the information and make sure it is the correct information!

We offer a reliable titre testing service for £45 – This includes a vet check if you are not a regular client plus a report with the results. See article under ‘useful information’.

If you require any further information, call 01726 890 887 and we will be pleased to advise you.