Is Your Pet Really DUE For A Vaccine? What Is Titer Testing?


I must first start out this post by reminding you that I am not a veterinarian. I will be providing you with the information I have garnered as well as the information I have collected from trusted veterinary sources on the matter, and I will provide you with the links to read for yourself and make the best decisions for you and your dog.

That said, let’s dive into the topic of vaccines, duration of immunity (due dates), and titer testing.

Where to start? I think with vaccine protocol. Most veterinarians come out of vet school with a firm belief that every animal needs yearly vaccinations (sometimes 3 years depending on the dose given previously). 

Fortunately for us, there are a growing number of veterinarians who have realized the damage these vaccines are doing to our pets and generally come up with their own protocol based on their findings in their practices. 

If you’re asking yourself, Jessica, does that mean that different veterinarians could tell me that my pet needs different vaccinations at different times? … the answer is yes.

My recommendation is to first ask your veterinarian what their vaccine protocol is and then research from there. If you see a traditional veterinarian, you are likely to get a pretty common answer – initial puppy vaccines and then boosters every year. 

While I know in my heart that these veterinarians are doing what they have been taught is best, I know better because I’ve asked more questions… I’ve done more research. I’ve had pets with vaccine reactions. It’s an intense feeling to know that you could have prevented your pets suffering.

Dr. Laurie Coger has a great 2 page downloadable that provides you with her recommended vaccine protocol as well as best practices for when your pet does get vaccines. I will upload it to our shared Google Drive folder, but you can also get it here:  

Here is the link in our shared Google Drive: 

I won’t rehash everything on the PDF, but it does have some really great tips. The number one thing I ask people when they are considering a vaccine is this … Is your dog healthy? Every vaccine clearly states right on the label that they are only intended for use in healthy animals. 

I’ll let you read the rest on Dr. Cogers’ download. It’s only 2 pages and provides you with an arsenal of great information!

Great! You’ve got your vaccine protocol and best practices … now what? Let’s talk a bit about the duration of immunity and titer testing.

While I’m sure (or I hope) there was once some scientific reasoning behind the vaccine due date, the science we have now positively refutes such a thing! I have listened to a couple podcasts that spoke about how terrible rabies used to be for humans, so it makes sense that we would do everything possible to erradicate it, but I think we are at the point where we also need to take into consideration the heath of our beloved pets.

We can keep them (and us) protected from rabies while also not over-vaccinating our pets which can lead to some pretty serious vaccine reactions.

What we know now is that, while time frames can vary with each animal, remember we are all individuals, after the initial rounds of vaccines (and the 1 year booster for rabies specifically) we can see levels of immunization for 8+ years. 

Why then would we preach annual vaccines? When I asked my vet specifically about this, she said it’s just less expensive. 

I’m not buying that anymore. I didn’t spend that much more money to get Kim titer tested for rabies, distemper and parvo than I would have if I just got her the vaccines. 

And I have the peace of mind knowing that she will go at least another year without any negative side effects from the vaccines. 

Now you’re probably asking, Jessica, what is a titer test? And a few years ago I would have been right there with you! A titer test is simply a blood test for antibodies in the blood which can give an accurate level of immunity.

I’ll be doing a follow up video on titer testing as well as Kim’s titer results, but for now I know that she has levels of immunity for rabies, parvo and distemper. 

I do hope you take a moment to print out the PDF from Dr. Laurie Coger and read it over. If you’re like me, you have a binder full of the most important information about my pets that I need to be able to grab at a moments notice. This PDF is going in it. 

For more information on vaccinations, titer testing and duration of immunity, I hope you check out these amazing veterinarians who are making a difference in how we care for our pets.

Dr. John Robb, Protect The Pets: 

Dr. Will Falconer, Vital Animal:…

Dr. Jean Dodds, Hemopet:

Dr. Laurie Coger, Healthy Dog Workshop:…​  

Dr. Odette Suter, What Your Vet Never Told You:

Related Blog & Article