Vaccinations, Titer Testing and Heathy Dogs
As custodians of our pets it’s our goal and responsibility to keep them healthy and safe. It’s a lifelong quest for me thinking what else can I do for my dogs to keep them healthy and help them live longer and happier lives. After nutrition we focus on healthcare and that often involves relying on our veterinarians for advice. One place that always seems a little foggy is whether to vaccinate our pets and what for. There are vaccines for many different diseases including the major three: parvo, distemper, rabies. These are devastating diseases that can and often kill. Many puppies fall victim to parvo and distemper and these diseases often run rampant in shelters.
The question remains; How much do we need to vaccinate our pets and what other options do we have? Well, how much to vaccinate can be answered by the second part of the question, “What are our other options?” Next time you visit your vet ask him or her about a “titer” test. It’s a simple blood test that tells how much immunity your dog’s blood still carries to the particular disease. For example, you’ll have to do separate tests for distemper and parvo. Once the test is run you will get a result if your dog carries enough immunity to either disease, and if they do vaccines are usually avoidable. It is common knowledge that if a dog carries sufficient immunity, adding more vaccine doesn’t make them “extra immune.” There is also a rabies titer test, but the rabies vaccine is required by law. Some states, such as California, have a 3-year mandatory rabies vaccine, others have a yearly requirement. For more information on the rabies vaccine check out the Rabies Challenge Fund, www.rabieschallengefund.org
Puppies are extremely susceptible to disease because of their weak and developing immune system. Puppies that are nursed by their mom are likely to get a small degree of immunity from their mother’s milk. But it is still important to vaccinate them before they go out into public places. It is crucial to be sure that your dog has immunity to these diseases before you take them out. That is why its important not to take a puppy our until at least their second dosage of vaccines.
There’s a fine line between the good and the bad of vaccinating. As we’ve shown, too much vaccinating can cause a host of issues including cancer, yet under-vaccinating can prove deadly. I’ve had this conversation with my vet Dr. Lisa for years and we now do a complete blood panel on my dogs once a year and include a titer test for parvo and distemper. If my dog has sufficient immunity, I don’t vaccinate. The best reference for anything relating to vaccines would be Dr. Jean Dodds, just google “Dr. Jean Dodds vaccine protocol” and “hemopet.” I do believe protecting our dogs from disease is important, but I do not believe in vaccinating when it’s not necessary. The titer test is more expensive than the vaccine, but that is a choice you can now make from an educated position. In either case, I can assure you that parvo and distemper are terrible, deadly diseases. Protect your pets. You now have another option. Most vets will offer the titer test at their office; you just have to know to ask for it. Alternately you can contact Hemopet and have them run the titer tests for you.