A prudent, personalized approach to protection
A vaccination program that’s tailored to your pet’s needs can go a long way toward protecting your dog or cat from potentially deadly infectious diseases.
Although vaccinations have helped reduce the incidence of diseases like rabies and distemper, it’s still important to protect your pets against these and other infectious diseases. However, the same vaccines that protect pets also have the potential to cause a range of negative reactions. It’s important to balance the risk on both sides. That’s why we offer an individualized approach to vaccinations.
The right vaccine at the right time
We want to keep your pet healthy, but we recognize that not every pet needs every available vaccine. Some vaccinations—like rabies—are required. Some core vaccinations are recommended for most pets. These include parvovirus and distemper for puppies and feline distemper, herpes virus and calicivirus for kittens. Many others are optional. Our doctors will recommend vaccinations and boosters based on your pet’s age, lifestyle, health status, risk of exposure and other factors.
Titers for a precisely tailored program
For the last 25 years or so, routine annual vaccinations have become common practice. We are now finding that our pets can have long-lasting immunity to common diseases after their initial puppy or kitten vaccinations. We can use vaccine titers to determine whether your pet needs revaccination. Vaccine titers are blood tests that measure the level of antibody immunity to a particular disease. The diseases that we titer most commonly are canine distemper and parvovirus and feline distemper and calicivirus.
The vaccine titer gives us a level of confidence that the body’s degree of immunity offers protection against the disease. If the titer is low, we do not hesitate to revaccinate and retest the following year. However, a low titer does not necessarily mean that your healthy pet cannot fight the disease. If your pet is not healthy, we can decide whether or when to revaccinate.
Vaccine titers can be particularly important for pets who have chronic health problems such as autoimmune disease or cancer. Vaccinations are lifesaving; however, they are strong substances that can produce severe reactions in compromised pets. Our veterinarians will talk to you about what is best for your pet.
What to expect
When we use vaccination titers, we rely on bloodwork rather than on a calendar to determine what your dog needs. Here’s how it works:
- We review your pet’s health record to determine the most recent vaccination or titer dates.
- Depending on your pet’s age, health and other factors, the veterinarian will recommend blood tests to check the titer levels for specific diseases where immunity might be low.
- A veterinary technician will draw a small amount of blood from your pet.
- We send the blood sample to the lab and receive the results in a few days.
- After we receive the results, we will notify you whether your pet is sufficiently protected or may need a booster vaccine.
Titers: What do they tell us?
Vaccination for Previously Vaccinated Dogs
Titers and Canine Vaccination Decisions
Titers and Feline Vaccination Decisions