It’s no surprise to many disgruntled pet owners that many veterinary clinics rely on revenue from vaccines. Happily for the dogs, many vets have replaced vaccinations with titer testing. The problem with this is twofold: one, they are replacing yearly or triennial vaccination with yearly or triennial titer testing, and two, titers are expensive.
Once a dog has a positive titer, he is considered protected for life. This means he no longer requires more vaccinations (most of the core vaccines have been shown to protect dogs for 7 to 15 years). If the dog doesn’t require any other vaccinations, then why are the titers being repeated?
“The patient receives no benefit and may be placed at serious risk when an unnecessary vaccine is given” says Dr. Ronald Schultz. ”Few or no scientific studies have demonstrated a need for cats or dogs to be revaccinated.” Clearly, not only repeating a vaccination, but repeating a titer is unnecessary. Although repeated vaccinations place your pet at risk, repeated titers place your pocketbook at risk.
The fee for titer testing varies from region to region and lab to lab however the going rate for a distemper/parvovirus titer is from $40 to $60 and the rabies titer will average about $120 (plus the cost of an office visit). Fortunately, there is a cheaper alternative to titer testing.
Last year, Biogal rolled out its Vaccicheck in the US. Synbiotics also has their TiterCHEK test, which they recently sold to Pfizer. Both tests measure parvovirus and distemper and the Vaccicheck also measures adenovirus. Vaccicheck also has a test for cats. Whereas titers traditionally had to be sent out to labs for analysis, these two tests are performed in-house, greatly reducing costs.
If your dog requires repeated titers for his daycare, boarding kennel or training club, these two tests are a much cheaper alternative to traditional titer testing. Both tests are easy to use and provide an answer (protection or not) within 20 – 30 minutes. Both tests have been validated independently and correlated with gold standard tests by a number of diagnostic laboratories.
If your vet isn’t aware of these tests, urge him to start using them in place of titers. Not only will they be cheaper for you, they may save another dog from over-vaccination. Many pet owners (and vets) opt out of titers because of the cost, but at a price tag of around $20, these in-house tests are cheaper than vaccinating. Do your part in the fight against over-vaccination and inform your vet of these great new alternatives. For more information on Vaccicheck, visit www.vaccicheck.com