What Is A Titer Test For Dogs?

If you have a dog, you need to know what a titer test is. Some dog owners use the titer test to help determine if their dog's vaccinations are up-to-date but there is some dispute as to the effectiveness of this approach.

Although your dog's vet can perform a titer test to check the antibodies in your dog's blood, the reasons for titer testing your dog need to be carefully considered.

The purpose of this short guide is to simply explain what a titer test for dogs is, not to advocate for or against their use in your own dog's diagnostic plan.

As ever, always discuss the pros and cons of any medical tests with your vet and do not be afraid to seek second opinions.

Titer test for dogs: an overview

A titer test (pronounced tighter test) is a blood test that can help confirm whether or not your dog has contracted a disease or is at risk of developing one.

The test is often used by some dog owners to determine whether or not a dog needs an additional vaccination (booster shots), though it is also used to detect disease in otherwise healthy dogs.

The titer test makes use of antigens, which are molecules that match up with antibodies, which are produced by the immune system in response to disease.

When the immune system is exposed to an antigen, it produces an antibody that matches it.

How do titer tests for dogs work?

The titer test works by measuring the concentration of antibodies in a dog’s blood, looking for an adequate match.

Benefits of a titer test for dogs

The benefits of using titer testing for dogs are the same as for human health.

Tests that measure antibodies against viral diseases can help confirm whether a dog is free of a persistent cough or persistent infections and can help determine if a dog is at risk of getting a disease that requires treatment.

Titer testing and canine vaccinations

Not everyone agrees that titer testing for dogs in relation to deciding whether or not to vaccinate is a good idea.

VitalAnimal, a website that publishes opinion on a number of veterinary issues says:

Some diseases have been studied enough that scientists claim to know what level of antibody protects against that disease, so this level is called a “protective titer.”

The problem with this approach is that low titers do not equate with lack of protection, especially if measured several years after the last vaccination.

About your dog's immune system

A dog's immune system works a lot like the human immune system.

We humans have different antibodies for the same type of bacteria and viruses, so if you get sick with one type of bacteria, your immune system will remember that and make antibodies to fight it the next time it comes around.

They are called antibodies because they are like little weapons that fight the disease.

A dog's immune system has special antibodies called IgM (Immunoglobulin M).

A dog's IgM has a red patch on it. IgM antibodies are for bacteria and viruses. While it is not the same as human antibodies, because we make IgG antibodies, and they don't have red patches, these type of antibodies are called "mixed."

Learn more about how your dog's immune system works »

Should I get a titer test for my dog?

It very much depends on what purpose you are considering the titer test.

The best thing you can do is discuss with your vet, never be afraid to get second (or even third) opinions.

Titer testing for dogs: Video Transcript
Being a pharmacy tech who works at an integrative pharmacy Geralyn is familiar with the concept of combining natural and alternative therapies with evidence-based medicines.

When it came to vaccinating her pop tango she looked for a vet who could provide her with services called titer testing.

She found that service with Dr. Jason Rowan

That service helps terilyn determine how often she should vaccinate tango and for what titer testing is grabbing a blood sample from a dog or cat and checking the antibodies to the vaccines that were vaccinating against.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the vaccinations and animals and certainly as veterinarians I think we need to start thinking about the products that we’re putting into two dogs and only doing when it’s necessary.

I think people are open to the idea and would like to explore it more themselves.

It’s fairly new so it’s all about educating people so arnica maybe if you just want to get in there and kind of hold off all vets can do titer testing it doesn’t necessarily mean that they ought to or agree with the principal the basics behind it.

If you get a positive antibody titer it’s directly correlated to immunity the problem in the tests lies if you get a negative it may be a false negative

If you get a negative it may not necessarily mean that the dog is not protected but in that case we usually vaccinate basically we get a very small blood sample and then we introduce the sample into the well of the titer test and move it through the through the different wells over a different period of time and then we measure the response by a by a color change on the on the tabs of the of the result card and we can do two distemper in parvo virus titers in-house but a lot of the other titers like the cat titers and the rabies titers we send out to Kansas State University.

The positives of the titer tests are that we can really really limit the number of vaccines that we’re giving but the negative of the test is that we we can always guarantee that a negative truly negative I think any time we were simulating the immune system we want to do that when it’s absolutely necessary and we just don’t want to be haphazard.

Further reading & resources: Titer testing for dogs

Titer Testing | Dogs Naturally dogsnaturallymagazine.com
Dog Titre Testing - Milton Keynes Veterinary Group mkvetgroup.co.uk
Titer Test For Dogs: Everything You Need To Know | Pet Side petside.com
Titer Testing For Dogs: What Is It, And What Does It Mean For Yearly
Vaccinations? - Dogtime
Titer Testing For Dogs – Definition, Cost, Different Types & Faqs breedingbusiness.com
What Is A Titer Test, And Is It Right For Your Pet? | Petmd petmd.com
What Is Titre Testing For Dogs? | Dog Vaccination | Your Vet Onine yourvetonline.com
Check Out The Number Of Uk Vets Now Offering Blood Titres!- Dogsfirstireland dogsfirst.ie
The Truth About Titer Testing Dogs Vs Vaccination — Our Pets Health ourpetshealth.com
Vaccicheck Antibody Titer Test | Rapid 3-In-1 Canine Titer Test vaccicheck.com
Titer Testing Your Dog: Are You Wasting Your Money? | Dogs Naturally dogsnaturallymagazine.com
Titer Testing For Dogs Explained: What Is A Titer Test? mapleholistics.com
The Truth About 'Titering' Instead Of Vaccination | Petmd petmd.com
About Vaccicheck | Vaccicheck Antibody Titer Test vaccicheck.com
All You Need To Know About A Titer Test For Dogs And Cats | Certapet certapet.com
Titer Testing | Hemopet hemopet.org
Animal Titer Testing Faqs | Animal Wellness Magazine animalwellnessmagazine.com
Dog And Cat Vaccines And Titers ksvdl.org
Vaccine Titer Tests For Dogs - Whole Dog Journal whole-dog-journal.com
Canine Leptospira Antibody Titer Lab Test | Dogs | Vetlexicon Canis From
Vetstream | Definitive Veterinary Intelligence
Titer Testing Vs Vaccinations For Dogs | The Vet Practice thevetpractice.com.au
Doglicious Spa & Wellness Center - Pet Spa And Wellness In Hummelstown, Pa dogliciousspa.com
Titer Testing In Dogs | Champion Of My Heart Reports championofmyheart.com
Titre Testing In Dogs - Inner South Veterinary Centre innersouthvets.com.au
A Literature-Based Review Of Vaccine Titers In Companion Animal Practice todaysveterinarypractice.com
Canine Nomograph – What Is It? | Cavids Titer Testing vetmed.wisc.edu
Error | Banbury And Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital chippingnortonvets.co.uk
Titer Testing For Dogs & Cats » Holistic Vet Care » Alternative Medicine camcpets.com
The Complete Guide To The Titer Test For Cats And Dogs - Jetset Pets jetsetpets.ae
Antibody Titers Versus Vaccination | Today'S Veterinary Practice todaysveterinarypractice.com
Dog Titer Test | Rabies Titer Test For Dogs | Cost Of Titer Testing pethealthandcare.com
Titer Testing | Truth4Dogs dogs4dogs.com
Titer Testing: Wasting Your Money? vitalanimal.com
Order Antibody Antigen Veterinary Coccidioides Detection Tests miravistavets.com

What does a dog's titer test results look like?

Image for illustrative purposes only:

What Is A Titer Test For Dogs?

Dog titer test sample results (text)

Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) antibody titer
The antibody titer was determined by the serum neutralization (SN) test.

Canine Parvovirus Type 2 (CPV-2) antibody titer
The antibody titer was determined by the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) test.

An SN titer for CDV > 8 and an HI titer for CPV-2 > 40 are considered protective when:
1) The dog is 18 weeks of age or older AND
2) The dog was vaccinated 2 or more weeks prior to the time the blood sample
was collected
What if the titer is less than 8 (SN) for CDV and/or less than 40 (HI) for CPV-2?
Revaccination with either a monovalent vaccine [specific for the virus (e.
CPV-2) for which there is low or no antibody titer) or a combination vaccine (e.

CDV, CPV-2, CAV-2, etc.
) is highly recommended!
With regard to the titer, a very high titer does not mean the dog is more immune than
the one with the low titer.
If the CDV antibody titer is 8 in dog A and it is 1024 in
dog B, both dogs are equally immune to CDV.

There is a small percentage of “non-responder” dogs that are unable to develop an
antibody response to CPV-2 (estimated 1 per 1,000 dogs) or CDV (estimated 1 per 5,000
These dogs will not develop detectable antibody after vaccination.
A dog will be
a non-responder to one virus or the other but very rarely to both) and will remain
susceptible, most likely for life.
When the non-responder dog is exposed and infected
with the virus, it will very likely get diseased and die.
Non-responsiveness is genetically
determined; therefore certain breeds or especially families of dogs will have a higher
number of non-responder than would be found in the general population of dogs
(estimated above).

Titer test for dogs: quick summary

  • A titer test is a blood test that measures the level of immune system proteins called antibodies.
  • A dog titer test typically tests for antibodies against canine distemper, canine parvovirus, canine adenovirus, and canine parainfluenza.
  • Titer testing involves taking a small sample of blood and testing it to identify the antibodies present within the sample-antibodies against the core transmissible canine diseases and health conditions.
  • The most common titer tests for dogs look for antibodies in parvovirus, distemper and rabies, and can help pet parents, vets, groomers, kennel owners, and other people who work with dogs learn about animals with unknown vaccination history, or decide if their dogs need additional vaccinations, as titers can show the actual immune response.
  • The Titer test is absolutely not a replacement or a substitute for a proper vaccination and should rather be used as a yardstick to determine whether or not your pet needs a particular vaccination.

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