Titre Testing – Checking your dog’s antibodies

Here at Towerwood, vaccinations are often a very good way of making sure our dogs are immune against some devastating illnesses such as distemper, parvovirus and infectious hepatitis for dogs. We also believe in minimising excess vaccination whilst maintaining optimum immunity. This may mean that your dog will not be vaccinated against all diseases every year.

However, sometimes it is not appropriate to vaccinate animals if they are ill or on medications which may affect their immune systems. In these circumstances, we can look at their circulating antibody levels ( titre test) to determine if an individual still carries enough immunity, outside of vaccine data sheet recommendations. Some dogs may carry immunity due to wild viruses in the environment infecting vaccinated dogs. These dogs will not become ill but their antibody levels will increase, sometimes quite dramatically. In these circumstances, these infections act as boosters to maintain immunity.

We can test for these antibodies by taking a blood sample upon which a laboratory can test for antibody titres. Generally, antibody titres greater than 20 are considered to offer immediate effect against wild virus infections. It should be noted that for those animals with titre levels less than 20 may still be immune however, it may take longer for them to deal with the wild virus.

At the time of the blood test, your dog will receive a full health check, just as they would at their annual booster vaccination. Like boosters, titre tests should be carried out annually.