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Discussion Starter #1
Riley goes in for his annual checkup tomorrow morning and I'm more than a little confused about titers.
Some people I've talked to think it's a good idea to have them run every year and some people think that they're basically just a waste of money since they measure antibodies and not the memory cells (which are supposed to be the true measure of immunity??)

I'm trying to decide if it would be better to titer, or just go with something like a three-year protocol.
We did vaccinate last year, at 1 year of age, but now that he's 2, I don't know which way to go. I definitely don't want to vaccinate if it isn't necessary, but I don't want to take chances and find out the hard way that he's not fully immune to something, either.

Are titers really a good indicator of immunity?
 

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In a word, no, they're not a very good indicator of protection for some viruses, while they are an excellent indicator for others.
Clear as mud, right?
 

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You're right about not measuring the 'memory cells'. The body can burp up antibodies not seen on titers unless stimulated by a particular antigen.

I had real doubts about this when I first read about it in CDC literature about vaccinating dialysis staff against Hep B...they were suggesting stopping the booster vaccines after the required level of immunity was reached, even if it dropped to non-immune levels, because the genetic cell 'memory' could produce enough antibody if exposed to the antigen.
Didn't stand up in a court of law if an employee contracted Hep B with a history of 'previous' immunity.

My plan is Rabies every three (law) and then I research my locality for documented disease and frequency. This year Lepto has jumped, so I will probably get antibody levels done for this (and it's gazillion serovars) and vaccinate.
 

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I don't titer but I do vaccinate every 3 years, after the first year-just me playing it safe. Luckily, Wisconsin only requires rabies every 3 years.

However, if my guys are out and about in the fields and woods a lot, I will vaccinate for lepto accordingly. I think the lepto vaccination is only good for 6 months at best.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Clear as mud, right?
Ha - yeah, just about.


moverking said:
You're right about not measuring the 'memory cells'. The body can burp up antibodies not seen on titers unless stimulated by a particular antigen.
Okay, good. She said pretty much the same thing this morning. She said her biggest problem with titers is that you can get the 'false low' and end up vaccinating when it isn't necessary, anyway. (Our previous vet didn't even know how to read titer results, so I'm still in the habit of doing my homework before and after an office visit.) When she had seen Gunner's chart before, and commented on the titers instead of annual vaccines, she was just happy that we didn't vaccinate every year. She had a few words for the vets who still push it and still hit them with the big combo shots to boot. (Have I mentioned that I love this woman?)

Except for the Lepto, which she said still pretty much has to be given every year, she likes to go with basically a three-year rotation, if I understood her correctly. Like this year, he got the Lepto and Parvo. Next year, he'll get the Lepto and Distemper, etc., unless I would decide to go with even less than that. And when he needs the rabies vaccine, she suggested that we give it a few weeks apart from any others.

And on a side note - Riley did great! I was so proud of him. He's still pretty defensive because of the last place, so we went ahead and used a muzzle while she was drawing blood, just to play it safe, but we probably wouldn't have needed it. She just let me hold him and he was really good about the whole thing. Took a treat from her and everything. I was shocked! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't titer but I do vaccinate every 3 years, after the first year-just me playing it safe. Luckily, Wisconsin only requires rabies every 3 years.
Yeah, I'm all for playing it safe! I don't want to overdo it, but I don't want him coming down with something that's preventable, either.
She said that some studies are showing full immunity for life, after the first year booster and while they might very well be on to something, she feels that it's still a roll of the dice and doesn't necessarily mean that every dog is going to be immune to everything for life.
So, I think this one strikes just about the right balance for me. She doesn't like to overdo it, but she still wants to be cautious.
 

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Ha - yeah, just about.




Okay, good. She said pretty much the same thing this morning. She said her biggest problem with titers is that you can get the 'false low' and end up vaccinating when it isn't necessary, anyway. (Our previous vet didn't even know how to read titer results, so I'm still in the habit of doing my homework before and after an office visit.) When she had seen Gunner's chart before, and commented on the titers instead of annual vaccines, she was just happy that we didn't vaccinate every year. She had a few words for the vets who still push it and still hit them with the big combo shots to boot. (Have I mentioned that I love this woman?)

Except for the Lepto, which she said still pretty much has to be given every year, she likes to go with basically a three-year rotation, if I understood her correctly. Like this year, he got the Lepto and Parvo. Next year, he'll get the Lepto and Distemper, etc., unless I would decide to go with even less than that. And when he needs the rabies vaccine, she suggested that we give it a few weeks apart from any others.

And on a side note - Riley did great! I was so proud of him. He's still pretty defensive because of the last place, so we went ahead and used a muzzle while she was drawing blood, just to play it safe, but we probably wouldn't have needed it. She just let me hold him and he was really good about the whole thing. Took a treat from her and everything. I was shocked! :)

My new vet was in agreeance with what your vet said to you. My breeder had recommended titres rather than a shot every year, so I mentioned it to the vet at our last visit (actually he asked for my views and requirements from the breeder regarding shots/vaccines/neutering which I thought was kind of nice instead of him jumping in to tell me that I have to do things a certain way), and he explained that he would rather do the 3 year vaccine rotation too, if I was ok with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My new vet was in agreeance with what your vet said to you. My breeder had recommended titres rather than a shot every year, so I mentioned it to the vet at our last visit (actually he asked for my views and requirements from the breeder regarding shots/vaccines/neutering which I thought was kind of nice instead of him jumping in to tell me that I have to do things a certain way), and he explained that he would rather do the 3 year vaccine rotation too, if I was ok with it.
Sounds like you found a good one, too. I like it when they're willing to take your views into account. Yes, they're the one with the degree, but whatever decisions are made, we're the ones who have to live with them. I like a vet who understands that.

Our previous vet was willing to run the titers, but it was quite obvious that he supports the old 'vaccinate every year, whether they need it or not' philosophy. He told me "You do what you feel is best for your dogs and I'll be okay with it" but the tone of his voice implied otherwise. I didn't care for that.
 

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my vet also does the 3 year rotation, although he's I think he's rethinking the 3 year parvo for "high risk dogs" due to the outbreaks of parvo at shows.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
my vet also does the 3 year rotation, although he's I think he's rethinking the 3 year parvo for "high risk dogs" due to the outbreaks of parvo at shows.
It's really good to hear that other vets follow this protocol, too. As much as I like this woman, I still have some trust issues because of the vets we've had in the past.

When would a dog be considered "high risk" for Parvo? I admit, I know next to nothing about the transmission of that. Does it require direct contact with infected dogs, or is it something that can be picked up just strolling the neighborhood and coming into contact with urine or feces? That would concern me, since no one around here bothers to clean up after their dogs.
 

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My plan is Rabies every three (law) and then I research my locality for documented disease and frequency. This year Lepto has jumped, so I will probably get antibody levels done for this (and it's gazillion serovars) and vaccinate.

Where do you go to find the documentation in your area? I know it's probably different since I'm in Canada, but it might give me a starting place to look. I just checked the CFHS site (Canada Federation of Humane Societies) but didn't see anything there. I was kind of hoping they'd give me a link to follow.
 

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I'm having the same inner conflict about my son, too! Some of the shots they give are absolutely ridiculous to me.
 

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Where do you go to find the documentation in your area? I know it's probably different since I'm in Canada, but it might give me a starting place to look. I just checked the CFHS site (Canada Federation of Humane Societies) but didn't see anything there. I was kind of hoping they'd give me a link to follow.
A combination of local vets documentation(I have to call them), the DNR, and I have another site I'll get for you when I get home. There are National databases too, but I think the local vets have to give their info to them for it to be a part of it.
 

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Tito is considered high risk because of the dog shows. It can be picked up simply by you tromping thru contaminated feces and then your dog sniffing your feet. Parvo is very, very easy to transmit unfortunately, and one of the harder viruses to kill on surfaces.
After several UKC shows they posted on the forum of dogs dying of parvo (within the past year or so). These were vaccinated dogs. After one show 3 young, apparently healthy labs died of parvo (caveat, they were breeder vaccinated, and were about 9 months old). On two premiums that I've seen recently for shows here in IL it has specifically said in a prominent location "we recommend that all dogs on the show site be vaccinated for parvovirus" (or similar wording).
My vet feels that it might be prudent to do an every-other-year vaccination protocol with Tito for parvo instead of every 3 years.

It's really good to hear that other vets follow this protocol, too. As much as I like this woman, I still have some trust issues because of the vets we've had in the past.

When would a dog be considered "high risk" for Parvo? I admit, I know next to nothing about the transmission of that. Does it require direct contact with infected dogs, or is it something that can be picked up just strolling the neighborhood and coming into contact with urine or feces? That would concern me, since no one around here bothers to clean up after their dogs.
 

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FWIW, almost all of the dogs I get here at the pet hotel are on the 3 year vaccination protocol except the "high risk" dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Tito is considered high risk because of the dog shows. It can be picked up simply by you tromping thru contaminated feces and then your dog sniffing your feet. Parvo is very, very easy to transmit unfortunately, and one of the harder viruses to kill on surfaces.
After several UKC shows they posted on the forum of dogs dying of parvo (within the past year or so). These were vaccinated dogs. After one show 3 young, apparently healthy labs died of parvo (caveat, they were breeder vaccinated, and were about 9 months old). On two premiums that I've seen recently for shows here in IL it has specifically said in a prominent location "we recommend that all dogs on the show site be vaccinated for parvovirus" (or similar wording).
My vet feels that it might be prudent to do an every-other-year vaccination protocol with Tito for parvo instead of every 3 years.
Thank you for the info! Since it's just a matter of him coming into contact with contaminated feces, it's definitely something that would concern me. He did get the parvo vaccine this year, so that's good. And I'm going to make a note on his paperwork right now, so I'll remember to talk to her about it next time. We might just end up doing an every-other with it, too.
 

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Gunner is now on the three year protocol because my vet doesn't think titiers are correct.

So this year, in Jan. I think I will have him get distemper/ parvo. Lepto isn't big here and my dogs aren't around wild animals unless a squirrel or possum had it in our yard. My dogs are never around other dogs but one could pee/poop in our yard on a walk which does happen! Plus Lepto vaccine is like the flu vaccine. There are hundreds of variations of Lepto and the vaccine covers 7. Plus it is the vaccine with the most reactions.

My vet doesn't think dogs over age 9 need vacs. so Selka is no longer getting them.

Then I will get his rabies (every 3 years here) in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Gunner is now on the three year protocol because my vet doesn't think titiers are correct.

So this year, in Jan. I think I will have him get distemper/ parvo. Lepto isn't big here and my dogs aren't around wild animals unless a squirrel or possum had it in our yard. My dogs are never around other dogs but one could pee/poop in our yard on a walk which does happen! Plus Lepto vaccine is like the flu vaccine. There are hundreds of variations of Lepto and the vaccine covers 7. Plus it is the vaccine with the most reactions.

My vet doesn't think dogs over age 9 need vacs. so Selka is no longer getting them.

Then I will get his rabies (every 3 years here) in the spring.
Yeah, the Lepto vaccine makes me nervous too, but I figure my guys are probably at greater risk from exposure to Lepto than they are from a bad reaction to the vaccine. We have raccoons and possums all over the place, here. And squirrels - ugh. Those fluffy little rats are everywhere! And she did say that they're seeing Lepto cases a lot more frequently now, in this area, so I'll take the chance. Still makes me nervous, though!

My Gunner probably won't be getting vaccinated at all, anymore. He's going to be 7 next month (was vaccinated annually for the first five years of his life - before we knew better) and now, with his EPI, I just don't think it's a good idea. I'm still on the fence about the Lepto with him. She said we could talk about next spring, when he goes in again, but she doesn't want to give him any of the other vaccines.
 

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Sammy and Barley were given two sets of yearly boosters and then I titered them for the following two years. Titers always looked good but this year were lower than last year. Barley is going to get shots next year (making it three years since his last set) After that I will probably skip a year and then titer the following year.

Mira got titered last year rather than getting a one year booster, her titers looked good so no shots. So she has only had a puppy series. I will get her shots next year as well, then follow the same plan above as Barley.
 
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