Updated: Oct 27, 2021
Most vets will tell you dogs HAVE to have their vaccinations every year and if they miss one, you have to start the whole course again in order for them to be protected from illness. If you don't know any better, why would you think otherwise? Your vet has spent years of their life learning, studying, researching everything they do and have your pets best interest at heart. What they say as a professional in that field goes unquestioned as they are just that; a professional. But what if they were wrong? What if what they recommended wasn't what was best for your dog after all?
Now this is a controversial topic but we are going to talk about the facts so that you as a dog owner can make an informed decision yourself as to what you want to do an what you believe is best for your dog.
Lets start from the beginning.
Immunity is when your body has come into contact with an illness or disease and your white blood cells create a 'memory' of that disease so that if it were to come into contact with it again it would 'remember' how to fight it. This means that if you come into contact with that disease, you wouldn't get any symptoms as your body fights it without you knowing.
Immunity comes from several things:
1. Immunity can come naturally through a healthy functioning immune system. A healthy immune system means you or your dog can fight that illness with minimal, if any symptoms and is why we, and our dogs don't get ill every time we come into contact with a germ. This is called natural immunity.
2. Immunity can be passed on from mother to child or puppy, called passive natural immunity. This is passed on through the mother's womb and milk during pregnancy and after birth.
3. Immunity can come from getting the disease but becoming immune after recovering from it as the system has built up resistance to the disease. This is called acquired immunity.
4. Immunity can come from vaccination which is where a non live version of the disease is out into the body so that the body fights it as if it were a live disease and therefore recognise if you come into contact with the live disease. This is called artificial immunity.
The truth of the matter is this: dogs get immunity from diseases, like us, from everywhere!
Think about it, when was the last time you had a vaccine? We as humans don't have to have vaccines every year because we simply don't need them! We get immunity from the world around us and if we had core vaccines as a baby and in school then there is no reason to get top ups every year. It is scientifically proven that our bodies remember how to fight those diseases if they were to ever come into contact with them again so vaccinating every year simply isn't necessary.
Studies have shown that vaccinating dogs yearly can actually cause adverse effects by confusing and over taxing the immune system. There have been hundreds of thousands of side effects recorded including vomiting diarrhoea, collapsing, seizures and in extreme cases death.
A simple titre test can tell you if your dog has immunity to a disease by showing you the number of antibodies circulating in your dogs system.
A high titre result shows that the immune system knows how make that antibody and therefore is able to fight that disease should your dog come into contact with it. A low titre result doesn't however show a lack of immunity to a disease, only a lack of exposure to such disease.
We strongly believe in looking at all aspects of your dogs health, including encouraging owners to be aware of the risks of over vaccination and the benefits of titre testing as an alternative. We personally titre test all of our dogs at least once a year and none have needed vaccinations since puppy vaccinations as they already have high levels of immunity and are generally healthy and happy dogs.
By titre testing you could save hundreds of pounds a year and save your dog from the side effects of over vaccination, so what have you got to loose?
So if you don't have anything to loose and neither does your dog, why not?
Ask your vets for a titre test next time you get a vaccination reminder and if they don't offer them, ask them why. If your dog doesn't need a vaccination top up and the way you can see if they need it or not is to do a titre test then why wouldn't they? Surely there isn't a good reason as to why not if it means your dog will overall be healthier and happier, right?
And if your vet refuses, don't panic! There are plenty of vets who will offer titre testing so keep asking until you find a vets who can. After all, it's you and your dog who will benefit. Even if it means a bit longer of a journey, it will only be once a year and your dog will thank you!