A vaccine titer is a blood test that we draw to check for the presence of antibodies, which are the cells in the body that provide protection against certain diseases. Instead of routinely vaccinating an animal, we can run titers to ascertain whether they're adequately protected based on the level of antibodies present.
Titration comes in handy when an animal has a chronic disease, which may make vaccination inadvisable. However, the law may require vaccination. Alternatively, an animal may have had a severe reaction to a vaccine in the past, and another dose may cause harm. In such scenarios, we run a blood test, a titer, to check if the animal already has protective antibodies in its system. If it does, we do not need to revaccinate and potentially expose the animal to the adverse effects of the vaccine.
We can perform titers for both core and non-core vaccines. The core vaccines for dogs are distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and rabies. However, we cannot perform titers for non-core vaccines like leptospirosis, coronavirus, Lyme, influenza, and kennel cough. For kitties, our core vaccines are distemper or panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and rabies.
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