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After having the initial vaccines and boosters last year, I decided to ask for titers instead of the usual round of annual vaccines. This is not the first time I have thought of doing this, but Quinn's epilepsy diagnosis earlier this year sealed my decision. Based on my research, I was expecting his vaccine levels to be acceptable, but I was not expecting his levels to be so very much above what is considered to be protective. Here is his report; thought many of you might find it to be interesting.

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Comment by DonMarie & Picco on September 30, 2016 at 8:13am

Geeze Jan, that's scary stuff.  Accusations of dog biting is nothing to play around with these days, but yeah, show me the bite!  I would think a titer report should be proof just like a vaccination record. Rabies is a national law, but I think all other vaccinations are optional in most states.

Comment by Jan, Lily & Nessy on September 30, 2016 at 2:56am

Dr Dodds is well known amongst the breeder community, with a good reputation.

One thing I wonder though, if titer testing is helpful in one case...  Imagine a dog that has been accused of biting someone...   What is the liability?   The main reason I ask - I know of two instance where a dog has been accused of biting someone.  Neither were true, of course, but still....  Imagine trying to defend your dog against an accuser who claims they were bitten....  Titer test results vs. vaccine records.  Which would provide better legal stance? 

I had a kid claim my dog "bit him" at PetSmart - it wasn't true, and I stopped it in the moment by calling him a liar (truth - hed' come up behind her, patted her on the head, and she responded by looking up to see what was going on, but her mouth was open.   At most, her teeth touched his hand.  No bite, and thankfully, the Mom escorted the brat away).    I've not taken my dogs to PetSmart since that incident.

In another case, a neighbor was walking his dog, and some creepy guy came up behind him and his dog and bumped into them.  The guy claimed the dog had bitten him, and threatened to call the police.  The owner of the dog said OK, call the police.  When the cop got there, he asked to see where the dog had bitten the man.  He pulled up his pant leg, and no wound to be found.  BUT the owner had to take his dog to the Vet for several months to confirm no illness....  SO, my question is, if we rely on titer tests, are we opening ourselves up to legal problems?!?

I honestly do not know what the answer is, but am ill prepared for a lawsuit...

A sad truth, to be sure, but beware,  proof of vaccination may be the only legally acceptable option :(

Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on September 26, 2016 at 5:07pm

Just want to share this coincidence... I just logged into facebook and came across a discussion on vaccines that was started earlier today; it was on the Irish Wolfhound Club fb page. The thread has become quite long, but the most common comment is in support of titer testing in place of annual vaccines. Many of these people follow the vaccination protocols of Dr. Jean Dodds. If you haven't heard of her or read any articles of hers, you may find it interesting to Google her. And if you want even more for you reading pleasure, you can try Dr. Ron Schultz!

Comment by DonMarie & Picco on September 26, 2016 at 12:31pm

I agree with what you are saying CJ.  I chose this vet when we moved here because he was close and I never heard anything bad about him.  He is older and I do think he is old-school. I have Picco on grain-free because it has made a difference in his stools. So far I haven't had any reason to leave this vet - just routine visits, nothing special but I always have the feeling that if there was a problem I just don't have the confidence in him.   There is another vet that is high recommended and will check him out next spring.  I know I'm just being lazy but I should find someone I have confidence in BEFORE something critical happens!

Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on September 26, 2016 at 10:40am

DonMarie, I am not meaning to criticize your vet or suggest you go through the possible hassle of finding a new one, but this doesn't sound right. Science Diet is probably just as expensive as high-quality grain-free, and while he may not be pushy about Science Diet, he is for sure getting paid to carry it and promote it. Also, grain-free may not be necessary for all pups, and there are likely some sound health reasons to not feed it to some, but it is proven to be extremely beneficial for many and far from a fad. It blows my mind to hear that a vet is saying "it's a fad" as a reason to not use it. Is this vet an older man? He sounds old-school stuck in the past and it sounds like he stopped educating himself quite some time ago. Just as with humans, we are continuously learning about ways to improve lives and increase healthiness, and finding out that maybe we should stop doing something we have always done is not out of the norm. I think we expect our own doctors to be up on research and current medicine and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the same from our vets. I definitely treat my dogs differently today than I did 10-20 years ago, and my conversations with my vet were very different 10-20 years ago. Neither one of us were talking about grain-free diets or titer testing. Funny thought--I remember when Science Diet became popular and it too was thought of as a "new fad" in dog food---yes, I am that old :)

Comment by DonMarie & Picco on September 25, 2016 at 5:13pm

He thinks grain-free foods are a fad and too expensive. He carries Science Diet and recommends it but isn't pushy about it.  I think (just guessing) that he might have the same attitude toward titering, but maybe not.  I'll find out next spring.  I've been seeing this vet for 2 years and still feeling him out. He's a nice guy and his vet techs are probably the most knowable I've ever met.  But he's not the only vet in town!

Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on September 25, 2016 at 5:10pm

I'm not sure which way would create more of an income. It might be a wash, because the titer testing cost seems to be comparable if not maybe a little bit more. I just wonder how much pressure the drug companies put on vets. Have no idea what the deal is with that, but I would think the drug mfg. companies would be very much against titer tests. I don't like to jump to conclusions for a vet I don't know. It could just be an "old school" attitude, but even that can become a problem... Bottom line, each of us has to decide what works best--don't want to give the impression that I think my way is the only way--but a little knowledge can't hurt and for sure, if you're not feeling a connection with your vet, it's time to search for another. Stepping back off my box now, but you can be sure it's always close by! Hahaha! :)

Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on September 25, 2016 at 2:17pm
I don't understand why a waste of money. Is it because he thinks the results will come back as not protected, or is it because he is more concerned about satisfying his drug companies than he is about caring for his clients? I know this sounds a bit rude, but based on the facts stemming from a good deal of research in recent years, no vet should be opposed to doing titers. Just my opinion. Wondering what the dog food conversation was... Does he think high quality food is a waste of money?
Comment by DonMarie & Picco on September 25, 2016 at 10:06am

Thanks CJ.  I did look around the internet and saw some of the prices ($$$) but it said they can vary.  I'm going to talk to my vet. He has been okay so far (no major illness to deal with) but I have a feeling he might say it's a waste of money judging from an earlier discussion I had with him over dog foods. 

Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on September 25, 2016 at 8:50am

FINALLY! Since posting this, I've been trying every day to access the community, but kept getting "page not found!" It's good to be back! And in answer to your questions...

Debbie & Trixie, my vet objected only to the titer for the rabies. I am very lucky to have a vet that is flexible and open to discussion and listens to my concerns. I've been with her for over 20 years and we have a very good relationship. The fee for the titer was $135. and then the blood draw fee was $79. but that included a complete CBC, so I'm thinking it would have been less than $79. if it was for the titer only.

DonMarie, the test requires a blood draw and then it is sent out to a lab. It took about a week to get the results. Those levels are the result of receiving the normal recommended vaccines and yes, studies do show that we are over-vaccinating our pets and this can be dangerous, which is why titer testing is slowly gaining ground.

If you guys have the time, Google the topic; you will find quite a bit of eye-opening information. One thing I learned is that tests show that most "annual" vaccines provide sufficient protection for at least 5-7 years.

Debbie Caprin, are you sure the second round wasn't the booster? The very first time some vaccines are given, a booster is needed a short time later.

I am sort of annoyed with myself for not pursuing this with Gracie when I first read about it a couple of years ago, but what's done is done, and I will never again routinely vaccinate any of my fur kids.

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