Titers - Am I understanding it correctly? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 11:57 AM
momof2
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Titers - Am I understanding it correctly?

Ok, I have been doing research all morning on this and from what I found off the web. The following states what I have found:

** A titer test does not and cannot measure immunity, because immunity to specific viruses is reliant not on antibodies, but on memory cells, which we have no way to measure. Memory cells are what prompt the immune system to create antibodies and dispatch them to an infection caused by the virus it "remembers." Memory cells don't need "reminders" in the form of re-vaccination to keep producing antibodies. (Science, 1999; "Immune system's memory does not need reminders.") If the animal recently encountered the virus, their level of antibody might be quite high, but that doesn't mean they are more immune than an animal with a lower titer.

So what does a low or zero titer tell you? Nothing much. A high titer is strongly correlated with either recent infection or good immunity, but the opposite isn't true. You can use a titer test about two weeks after vaccination to determine if the vaccination was effective in stimulating an immune response (in other words, if the animal was successfully immunized from the vaccine), but testing that same animal's titer years down the road doesn't really tell you anything new. ***

Ok, me again...So, if one was to give the final 1 year shots to the pup and have a titer done two weeks later to see if the body has a strong immune response then the dog would be able to be vaccine free for years. So does a person just be careful and cautious and do a set of new vaccines every 5 or 6years and titer again two weeks later?

It sounds like a titer done annually isn't going to tell you anything. (unless of course they did not take to the vaccine to begin with) - hence the two week later approach

I vaccinate (my doc does) our children and one of them is 5 doses by the age they are 5 seems like a lot, but then they don't need it anymore. So it is kind of like the couple puppy shots at 4 -6 months and then the last one at 1 year and then they should be good?

We are seriously considering a Havanese, with the initial expense of the dog, I just don't want to see any serious vaccine reactions that would cost us hundeds of $$ that I could have prevented.

I understand from reading that I should space the vaccines. My Vet allows us to come back for a 'booster' for a $12 clinic fee plus the cost of the shot within 14 days of inital exam. Otherwise it would be the full exam fee again of$35 + shots if went beyond those 14 days. Is 13 days too soon to try another shot as a pup to see if there is a seperate reaction? (these are referring to the set of shots through 1 year)

Titers is a new concept for me. Our dog, Miranda, has gotten her shots for 16years, every year (if annual shot). Just trying to figure out what it does and if it is a safe way of calculating her immune responses. Sounds like a lot of conflict yet on the titers, but my sis is a nurse and she said the two week after testing makes a lot of sense, a couple years down the road getting a titer done isn't going to tell you much unless it didn't have the viral receptors to begin with.

So how often, on average in years, have those who decide not to give annual vaccines actually decide give them another dose?

All kennels and groomers in this area need vet records up to date. How do you do this when they aren't getting vacinated every year? I may have to give yearly (or 3 year) vaccinations in order to use these services, so I may have to just space them out to see which cause reactions (praying none). Titers may not be an option for us.

Thanks for any replies, this site has been so helpful.

Last edited by momof2; 02-18-2008 at 12:13 PM.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 12:24 PM
Amanda
 
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I think I understood it differently but I could be wrong. I thought the titer measured the ability of the dog's body to respond to the virus. Neither of my girls have had shots after the one year mark but Isabelle had a horrible reaction to lepto and after that I decided to research a bit more. I found a site that explains Dr. Dodd's philosophy a bit better than I can. As to kennels, neither of my girls have ever gone to one. I also groom them myself now but a lot of "dog people" titer. I just told my old groomer what I did and she had no problem with it. With therapy dog and hospitals, I just have to show the titer records. The girls both do get rabies every 3 years though as that is required by the state.

Quote:
Understanding titer tests
The term “titer” refers to the strength or concentration of a substance in a solution. When testing vaccine titers in dogs, a veterinarian takes a blood sample from a dog and has the blood tested for the presence and strength of the dog’s immunological response to a viral disease. If the dog demonstrates satisfactory levels of vaccine titers, the dog is considered sufficiently immune to the disease, or possessing good “immunologic memory,” and not in need of further vaccination against the disease at that time.

Using the new TiterCHEKTM test kit, your veterinarian can now draw blood from your dog when you first arrive for his annual health exam, and within 15 minutes, be able to tell you whether or not he needs any vaccines.

Titer tests do not distinguish between the immunity generated by vaccination and that generated by natural exposure to disease agents. A dog may have developed immunity to a viral disease by receiving a vaccine against the disease, by being exposed to the disease in the natural environment and conquering it, sometimes without having demonstrated any symptoms of exposure to the disease, or by a combination of the two. Therefore, titer tests really measure both the “priming of the pump” that comes from vaccines, and the immunity resulting from natural exposure to disease during a dog’s lifetime. Only an indoor dog that has been totally sequestered from the natural environment is likely to have developed all of its immunity from vaccinations. Although the magnitude of immunity protection received by vaccination only is usually lower than by vaccination plus exposure, it doesn’t matter how your dog developed its strong immunity to specific viral diseases, as long as the immunity is present. By “titering” annually, a dog owner can assess whether her dog’s immune response has fallen below adequate levels. In that event, an appropriate vaccine booster can be administered.
For more info, http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-...titer_test.htm

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 12:45 PM
momof2
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Wow, I guess there is a lot of conflict in what a titer reading actually shows.

From the sites I visited, you can't get take a titer test that is testing for antibodies as that doesn't represent its it memory cells against the disease. So if comparing the two sides of a titer they are totally different.

So on the other side of the spectrum, it says that you can measure a dogs defensive and determine if another booster is needed. So if your dog shows a low score, then it would get a booster....hum, but off what I could find, a low score doesn't need a booster.

I guess in uncertainty, do what one feels right. These instances just remind me of the human testing and drugs involved and how many times the FDA goes back and forth.

I guess the Titers are still in 'process' of determining what they are good for.

Wow, things have sure gotten complicated. I just want a companion. This has been a ton of research! And it still hasn't helped ;-( I hope things don't get more distant and confusion takes it toll. I may have to search another breed or size. Or leave it in God hands to take the same old roads and just space the vaccines.

Last edited by momof2; 02-18-2008 at 12:48 PM. Reason: corrected sentence
 
post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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This is very interesting, although I can't say weither you are understanding it right, b/c I am confused. LOL
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 01:16 PM
momof2
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I just can't get past what I found on the web. I have a gut feeling that yearly testing isn't as accurate as made to believe. I guess I feel strongly about my first opening findings on this thread.

I keep thinking back to humans. When we get a...chicken pox vaccine...we have strong antibodies and a strong defense for attack...but once all is settled and those cells determine we are not under attack...those cells go dormant waiting and waiting for those invasive attackers to intrude. Then their 'memory' kicks in and come out full force with antibodies to fight off the invasion of "chicken" intruders.

I don't think a yearly titer is accurate as it is made to seem as there is no way to test those 'memory' cells. Most likely they are inactive and waiting at the time of testing. So the titer may show it is low and dog gets re-vaccinated even though it is perfectly fine and waiting. Then those 'memory' cells awaken and kill off the new injection anyways.

Man, I am so confused.

Last edited by momof2; 02-18-2008 at 01:24 PM. Reason: spelling
post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 01:41 PM
Amanda
 
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I honestly don't know how to answer your questions. I agree go with what you feel comfortable with. I know my vet offers to give a booster if the titers come back too low for free. Many vets practice dr. dodds methods. It has never happened with either of the girls-needing an additional vaccine. I just didn't like the alternative to give the vaccine each year. Especially when you consider a 120lb great dane would get the same vaccine as my 4lb maltese.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 01:42 PM
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Maybe some of our science people can come save this philosophy major

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 01:54 PM
momof2
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I am just trying to be prepared for those first visits to the vets and make it clear what I am wanting. If they don't go along, then maybem I will have to find another. But of course, they would have alot more knowledge on titers (I hope). I have gone to this vet for over 8 years and never has anyone mentioned it. I never heard of them until this forum. Maybe they are Money driven? I don't know. I like where I go, so it will interesting to hear what they have to say about it.
post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 02:13 PM
 
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Ok, for what it's worth, here is my take on this....

I spoke with my vet about this, and also with a breeder, and basically there is some discrepancy as to whether titers are sufficient to indicate immunity. The American Vet Association is supposedly currently reviewing the data regarding immunity conferred by memory cells as opposed to immunoglobin levels, and what this implicates for the titers that vets currently perform. HOWEVER, there is a general consensus that american dogs are WAAAAAY over-vaccinated. Many Havanese breeders recommend following the Dr. Jean Dodd vaccine protocol, which indicates going through the complete round of puppy vaccinations (minus the corona virus vaccine and definitely no Lyme), and then having titers performed yearly.

Currently, it is cheaper to vaccinate every year than to titer (@30$ per shot as opposed to 70$ per titer), but it is somewhat uncertain as to what the titer results represent in terms of immunity conferred. So, what both my vet (Recommeded vet of the Delaware Valley Havanese Club) and one of my breeders believe is that currently titering after the 1 year vaccines is the best substitute for annual shots. There are experiments underway to test this, but you wouldn't vaccinate a human child annually, so many medical experts believe you shouldn't do that to a dog either. They are also testing to see if the rabies vaccine really needs to be delivered every 3 years or if 2 doses are sufficient to confer lifelong immunity to our Havs. I speak to them both often, if I hear more on the topic, I will let you know.


IMHO, as someone who has worked as a scientist or engineer in both pharmacology and oncology, the fewer vaccines that you deliver annually to your dog, the better. I think that for now, if I were you, just tell your vet that you follow the Dr Jean Dodd protocol for vaccination, and many vets will think that is sufficient. I could try to find an online copy of the protocol.

SOrry this is so long and serious, I am in work mode right now
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2008, 08:48 PM
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I didn't know the other side of the equation that some thought is it doesn't prove anything. I just had a reaction with Belle when she was younger so I shopped around (same vet also said Science Diet was the best food you could buy!). I had a really difficult time finding a vet in michigan that would space shots out let alone titer. But when I moved my vet in Ohio was totally against yearly shots. So much that if hte levels weren't high enough, he would give any vaccine free. He also wrote letters for all the places that required shot records. I now heard Dr. Dodds is in my area so maybe this spring, I can go to her clinic.

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