Indications for Core Vaccine Titer Testing in Dogs and Cats
By Dr. Sasha Thomason
Core vaccine titer testing is a useful tool for the small animal practitioner. It is the only practical way to assess whether a cat or dog has developed an immune response to the core vaccines that are routinely administered. The American Animal Hospital Association and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association both affirm that performing titers can help guide patient vaccination management in the following situations:
To assess the immune status of an adult dog or cat that is due or overdue for a booster, especially if the owner is concerned about the potential risks associated with vaccination
To assess the need for revaccinating a dog or cat
- of advanced age
- with chronic illness
- that has had a systemic adverse reaction to a vaccine in the past
- that is undergoing immunosuppressive treatment
- that is receiving a short course or low-dose steroid therapy
- that has a history of immune-mediated disease
To assess the immune status of an adult dog or cat when the vaccine status is unknown or undocumented
To assess the immune status of a puppy or kitten following completion of the initial vaccine series (test 2-4 weeks after last vaccine is given)
To assess the immune status of a female dog or cat prior to breeding (test 2-3 months prior to a planned breeding)
To identify a genetic non-responder or poor-responder that is incapable of or has a reduced ability to produce antibodies since they are at higher risk for infection if exposed (test 2-4 weeks after last vaccine is given)
To assess the immune status of a dog or cat entering a shelter, kennel, breeding facility, etc. and to help manage a disease outbreak in those housing situations
The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) provides serum neutralizing antibody (SN) and hemagglutination inhibition (HI) tests for canine distemper, canine parvovirus, and canine adenovirus (CAV-2) for the Canine Core Titer Panel as well as feline panleukopenia, feline herpesvirus, and feline calicivirus for the Feline Core Vaccine Titer Panel. These are the gold standard testing methods to assess titer levels.
It is well-documented that there is an excellent correlation between a “positive” titer and protection against viral challenge concerning canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, and feline panleukopenia virus. There is a good correlation between a “positive” titer and protection against viral challenge with the feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus.
For more information on specific titer levels that are considered “positive” (i.e. protective), please visit the www.ksvdl.org or contact Client Care at 866-512-5650.
The Core Vaccine Titer Panels are only offered to veterinarians and only through the KSVDL online core vaccine submission form. The test fee includes a complimentary UPS shipping label if you are located within the 48 contiguous states. Access our page on Canine and Feline Core Vaccine Titer Panels for more information about this testing, to go to the online submission forms or to set up a new client account.
Dr. Thomason is a clinical assistant professor in KSVDL Client Services and Outreach.