|Since it's addressed to Halladay, what are the chances they will accept kisses instead of cash?|
Halladay turns four years old in April 2013. Ever since he was 8 weeks old, we've been bringing him to the vet for his yearly vaccines which include DHPP, rabies, and bordetella. For good measure, we also throw in monthly doses of Revolution over the summer and into fall. Randie and I joke that we take better care of our dog's health than we do our own.
But do we really?
Studies are showing, time and time again, that dogs are not likely to require yearly vaccines because their antibodies are usually high enough over time to be considered immune to the disease. By over vaccinating, we're putting our pooches at risk for a whole slew of health issues that can affect their blood, organs, liver, kidneys, and so on.
Take Maggie for an example. Maggie, a three year old (best guess) bloodhound joined the Hopeful Hearts family in July as a stray. With no access to her vaccination history, we weren't overly enthused at the idea of vaccinating her, so we sent Maggie to Carleton Place Vet Hospital for a titer test. Her blood work was shipped off to Cornell University and then six weeks later the results showed up in my email box: all levels were high, vaccines were unnecessary, and Maggie would not need repeat blood work until 2016 at the earliest. We saved Maggie at least four years of unnecessary vaccines.
But then on the flip side you have dogs like Charlotte. At ten years old, Charlotte was dumped off at a kill shelter because her owners didn't have time for her. Unfortunately the shelter wasn't given any kind of vaccination history on her by her owners, and although unusual, the shelter didn't bother to vaccinate her before sending her to rescue either. This left the rescue in a pickle. One would think that a ten year old dog had received plenty of vaccinations at her age, but if you're going to adopt dogs out to the public, you need to (or should, if you're a reputable rescue) have some kind of proof that a dog it up to date on vaccines. So off to CP Vet Hospital for Charlotte. Another 6 weeks went by and the results that came back were a little shocking. All the levels were low and she needed at least her core vaccines - DHPP and rabies.
Titer testing is similar to playing Russian Roulette. On one hand you might be saving your dog from being unncessarily vaccinated (and also saving yourself some money in the process) but if the levels come back low, you've not only put out $300 for the titers, but you now have to pay an additional $150-$200 dollars for vaccines.
This topic is still under debate in our household though. It's difficult to break people out of the old-school way of thinking that your vet knows best when it's clear that's not always the case -- the kind of food your vet recommends is a great example. Unfortunately not all veterinarians support titer testing for one reason or another. Personally, if Jean Dodds agrees with it, then I do too.
However, for the time being, Halladay will be off to the vet next weekend for his rabies vaccine, and hopefully next year we can come to some kind of compromise before he and Wookie are due back for their annual poking and prodding.
What are your thoughts on titer testing? Do you vaccinate annually?