Is your Dog Vaccinated or Immunised?
I’ve visited India three times and hated seeing so many poorly looking ‘street’ dogs and cats ravaged by disease and mal-nutrition.
When returned to London I counted my blessings! Conversely in the UK obesity is our main concern nutritionally, and there’s no lack of vet support and medication.
Holistic vets refer to keeping the ‘toxic-load’ to a minimum, as I learnt in my study with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies. This means balancing and reducing the environmental stressors that are ubiquitous in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink.
It also refers to minimizing the amount of medications like antibiotics, steroids and painkillers, which overtime can cause disease from side effects. As can other environmental stressors like flea treatments and wormers when used in excess.
The most common procedure in the UK for both cats and dogs is vaccination. Unquestionably vaccines are one of the most notable modern medical advances that have successfully prevented and controlled infectious diseases.
An annual text from Vets reminds us a booster jab is due. Imagine a text to advise it was time for an annual blood test that determines and manages your individual dog’s immunity with no need for a jab.
For dog’s, vaccines protect against the core diseases: canine distemper virus (CDV); infectious hepatitis (ICH) and canine parvovirus (CPV). And for cat’s, vaccines protect against Panleukopenia (FPLV); feline calici virus (FCV) and feline herpes virus (HPV).
Anna’s beloved pooch Binks
In 2013 the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) revised its original vaccination guidelines (published in 2007) to include the use of Titre Testing in lieu of annual boosters.
In its latest edition (2017), the VGG (Vaccination Guidelines Group) stresses the value of Titre Testing as these simple blood tests have proved the Duration of Immunity (DOI) to last from the initial puppy / kitten shots for a minimum of three years - even a lifetime, questioning the need to booster annually.
The Titre Test reliably looks for serological antibodies of the core diseases in the bloodstream. The presence of these antibodies proves that the animal is immune. Adding more vaccines won’t make your dog more immune; its immunity is already sufficient.
I was introduced to Titre Testing in 2008 when Molly, my beloved Miniature Bull Terrier (aged six), was ‘Titred’ to see if she needed a booster.
Molly’s ‘Titre’ blood test revealed her serological antibodies for the core diseases to be high. So, Molly didn’t require a booster as the Titre Test proved she was already immune.
Interestingly Molly had only had her puppy shots at 8 and 12 weeks, with no subsequent boosters in six years. Molly proved that DOI lasts for more than three years, even a lifetime!
Offering Titre Tests is a great way for vets to reach out to owners like myself, who do not believe in doing something (i.e. giving a booster jab) when it’s not necessary.
Some boarding kennels and pet insurance firms have historically demanded an up to date immunisation certificate. Now thanks to the WSAVA’s VGG’s recommendations a Titre Test, with an approved letter from your vet, is certification of immunity.
Prudence my Mini Bull youngster was Titre Tested at 16 weeks. Her blood test revealed she had ‘seroconverted’ after her puppy shots and is immune; I will monitor her immunity with Titres on-going.
Gremlin my ‘street-cat’ was only three months old when he landed in my garden as a stray. I chose to get his kitten shots done, but he’s nearly seven and hasn’t ever had or needed a booster.
Similarly Mr Binks, my re-homed English Toy Terrier, had his puppy shots and two boosters before I owned him. As he heads to his sixth birthday he’s not needed any more boosters. As vaccines come in one-size, a booster for Binks is the same as one for a Great Dane!
In the same way that I choose a diet like Natural Instinct to maximise my pets’ health, by opting to Titre Test it’s just another way of giving myself peace of mind.