By Kim Campbell Thornton
May 2, 2014
Phone conversation with the receptionist at my vet’s office today:
Me: Could you please fax Harper’s vaccination records to this boarding kennel?
Receptionist: Did you know Harper is overdue for her titer?
Me: No, she’s had one in the past couple of years.
Receptionist: Well, she’s supposed to have one every year.
Me: If vaccinations are good for a minimum of three years, why would she need a titer every year?
Receptionist: We need to make sure her titer levels aren’t too low.
Me: [in my head: I'm not even going to argue with you.] Anyway, I need you to fax those.
Receptionist: So you don’t want to do another titer?
Sigh. I thought they were trained at my veterinarian’s clinic not to argue with me about this stuff. Maybe she’s new. It was my understanding that it pops up right by my name–don’t bother arguing with Kim about vaccinations. So I guess they’re going to argue with me about how often titers should be done.
But seriously? It’s not rocket science. If the AVMA and AAHA and all the veterinary schools have data showing that core vaccinations confer immunity for several years, isn’t it obvious that titers would only be done every three years?
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s immunology expert Jean Dodds, DVM, from her blog, in response to a question about a dog’s distemper titer being low:
I suggest titer testing your dog every three years for both distemper and parvovirus. Any measurable titer to a vaccine, including distemper and parvovirus, means that the dog has specific committed immune memory cells to respond and afford protection upon exposure. It really doesn’t matter how high the titer result is as long as it measures something.
I get that vets want to see pets on a regular basis. I think that’s important. I go to my doctor every year for a physical, and veterinarians need to adopt that model as well instead of making up stupid reasons that aren’t scientifically valid. I expect better.