Vaccinations & Titre Testing

Vaccinations & Titre Testing

More and more people worry about over-vaccinating their dogs, and unfortunately there’s lots of conflicting and confusing advice out there.  We want to keep our dogs safe - but how do we do that when it comes to vaccinations? The vaccinations protect against some really nasty diseases (plenty of dogs die from Parvo each year), yet some dogs have quite severe reactions to the vaccine itself, and there is concern that vaccinating when not required may lead to chronic health issues.

Vaccination Background:

Before you start, you need to know that dogs don’t get the same vaccination every year.  For their puppy vaccination course and their first booster, dogs get the full vaccine, against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo and Leptospirosis (+/- Kennel Cough), then for the next two years it’s the small vaccine, just Lepto (+/- Kennel Cough), and every 3rd year it’s the full vaccine again.

Puppy: Full puppy course

Year 1: Full Booster

Year 2: Lepto vaccine only

Year 3: Lepto vaccine only

Year 4: Full Booster

Year 5: Lepto vaccine only

Year 6: Lepto vaccine only

Year 7: Full Booster

…and so on 

We know that the core vaccine (that is given at the full vaccine, and covers Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo) lasts for at least 3 years, but can last much longer, up to the life time of the dog. But we don’t know for which dogs it lasts longer and for how long, so to be on the safe side, we vaccinate against these diseases every 3 years regardless.

We also know that immunity against Leptospirosis (and Kennel Cough) only lasts up to a year, so we repeat this every year.

It has always been possible to check whether a dog is still protected against the core diseases, but it was so expensive that only very few people had it done.

These days though, titre testing is much more affordable, and in our mind, really is the obvious thing to do. 

Titre testing is a blood test that will tell you if your dog still has immunity against the core diseases: Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo. It does not test for immunity against Leptospirosis, because this only lasts for a year anyway and therefore needs to be repeated as a yearly vaccination - we offer this as an option, included in the cost of your titre test.  

So, what should I do?

Below is the routine schedule undertaken by most vets:

Puppy: Full puppy course

Year 1: Full Booster

Year 2: Lepto vaccine only

Year 3: Lepto vaccine only

Year 4: Full Booster OR Titre Test (rather than giving the full vaccine again, run a titre test, and only give the vaccine if needed. But do vaccinate against Lepto every year. A positive titre test means your dog is protected for at least 1 year for the core diseases, and it’s recommended to then titre test every year to be sure the cover still lasts). 

To find out more about our next Titre Testing Clinic, please contact us on 01484 246420.

Dragonfly Products Ltd, Unit 4, Kiln Hill Industrial Estate, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, HD7 5JS - we have free car parking.

Article credit to Katja Londa, Holistic Vet, Pets Relaxed

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