We all love to travel, and getting our dogs to take a Titer test makes travelling with our pets so much easier. So, before you jet off or drive off, you need to make sure your dog has been vaccinated and have no illness that can spread to others.
Consult your vet and check whether your dog has all the required vaccinations, as you will never know what illness they may encounter. Your vet can Titer test your pet to see if they are up to date. But you may be wondering, what are titer tests for dogs?
What Are Titer Tests for Dogs?
A titer test is a blood test performed on your dog to check for antibodies for a specific illness. Titer tests can pre-empt the effectiveness of a pet vaccine by highlighting any existing, natural immunity in the blood.
The titer test will be used to assess the effectiveness of a particular vaccine or whether or not your pet has a natural immunity to any particular illness.
A titer test can be significant if you want to travel the UK with your dog, especially if you are travelling to new places, where a lot of dog’s mix. They may pick up illnesses like Kennel cough so a titer test is definitely a good idea, especially if you are travelling around.
What Does A Titer Test Check For?
Titer tests check the level of antibodies within the blood. They are specifically looking antibody titers and if they are above a certain level, it will show the immune system has been exposed to a vaccine or a past infection.
This test can be used in a variety of ways and for different reasons and the main one for dogs is to help determine their vaccination history. It will show whether or not the vaccine levels are too low, and if your pet requires a booster.
How Does a Titer Test Work?
The test works by measuring the levels of protein in the blood and the proteins are produced by the immune system and is in response to an infection. Vets can use this to determine whether or not the immune system can defend itself against an illness or whether it will require a little help.
Why You Should Titer Test Your Dog
You should titer test your dog to prevent over-vaccinating your dog. Many people are concerned about over-vaccinating dogs and the side effects it may cause; even Veterinarians are concerned.
Whether short-term or long-term, these side-effects can vary in severity and may cause your pet issues that may have been avoidable. Most people agree that vaccinations are essential, especially when travelling, and should be given to dogs who need the protection.
Now we have established you can determine whether or not your dog needs a booster before you travel by taking a Titer test. It is all about balancing the need to protect your pet from serious diseases and not over-vaccinating them. The balancing act will also include the cost of the tests.
How Much Does It Cost To Titer Test Your Dog?
The cost of Titer testing can vary depending on how you test your dog. Titer testing that involves you having to send the test away to a laboratory will cost more than the kit that a vet would use.
The laboratory tests can cost in the region of £100 to £150. The kits that vets can use cost around £35 to £50, which is much cheaper, especially if you are testing more than once.
How Often Should You Titer Test?
The regularity of testing depends on the cost for most people because testing can be expensive, especially if you want to travel around the UK. How often you should get a titer test really does vary. Some vets say that you should get them tested annually just to be safe whereas other tests available recommend that you only need to get a Titer test every three years, and then there are those that still suggest five to seven years is all you need.
Most tests conclude that dogs vaccinated against certain illnesses have immunity for a long time, five or seven years. In fact, they may have immunity for life.
In the end, it is up to you. There is certainly no harm in testing your dog often, apart from the cost. Have a conversation with your vet if you are worried or concerned, and work out the best for your dog. Especially if you are thinking about just titer testing and not vaccinating your dog.
Can I Use Titer Testing Instead of Vaccines?
Even with titer testing, your dog still needs their vaccinations. This is true if you want to travel with your pet. Each puppy requires a few different vaccines to remain healthy. Parvovirus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Distemper vaccines are all vital for your puppy and a booster may even be required when your dog has grown up.
An annual titer test will allow you to see if your dog needs a booster for these diseases. Of course, your vet may even recommend vaccines for illnesses such as Kennel Cough.
Always make sure they are up to date. Sometimes you will not be able to travel with your dog unless they have had their vaccines. Also, sometimes it can impact the insurance you have taken out.
Are Titer Tests Accepted By An Insurance Company?
Different insurance companies have different policies regarding Titer testing. It is always best to check your specific guidelines and see if getting a test will affect your claim.
Some policies require your pet to be vaccinated while others do accept titer testing. Of course, suppose your dog has been vaccinated, and you are titer testing to check whether they need a booster. In this case, this should not affect your insurance company or their policy.
Just remember, insurance companies will not cover the cost of the titer test, just like they will not cover the cost of vaccinations. The cost of the testing will be something you will have to cover yourself.
What Are The Pros and Cons Of Titer Testing?
Titer testing, although great and has many positive aspects also has its limitations. If you are still unsure on whether titer testing is suitable for your dog, it is good to know the pros and cons of using this tool.
Can Save You Money:
While the tests can be expensive, often more expensive than vaccination, the proof that your dog has been vaccinated or doesn’t need a booster will save you money. It will also stop you from spending money on a vaccine unnecessarily.
Not 100% Accurate:
Like all testing, titer testing isn’t 100% accurate. Keeping this in mind, your test may come back with a false negative or a false positive.
Can Stop Unnecessary Vaccines:
As well as saving you a lot in terms of money on unnecessary vaccines, getting a titer test will also save you having to give another vaccine, as they already have the antibodies.
No Proof Of Immunity:
Getting a titer test does not prove to some organisations that your pet has been immunised against certain illnesses. Places such as Kennels often require proof of vaccination to consider taking a pet. Keep this in mind.
Low Risk Of Side Effects:
As there is no foreign body being introduced into your dog, they are unlikely to have a reaction to the test. There also may be a slight risk of a slight infection, but this can be easily remedied.
Unable to Detect Everything:
Can Identify Difficult Illnesses:
Some tests can search for any issues that may occur down the line. Illnesses like Lupus cannot be immunised against, so the extra time for dealing with the illness is welcomed.
Not a Replacement For Vaccination:
Whether or not to use a titer test to check your dog is up to you. The pros and cons do need to be weighed up and for you to decide whether or not it is something you want to try.
For specific destinations, giving your dog a titer test is required. In fact, there will be a period before your dog can even enter the country for some places.
So, it is always recommended to keep on top of all vaccinations that your pet needs. So, the titer testing can be a great way to keep on top—a tool to see whether or not your pet needs their booster.
Like all testing, it has its pros and cons, which need to be taken into consideration. But titer tests are a great way to check your pets vaccination history and be concerned about over-vaccinating your dog. The titer test you give your dog can help identify any immunity that your dog may have against any particular disease.
But what we all want is a healthy and happy dog with whom we can share our adventures.