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Alli Walsh, Social Media Strategist
Did your pet visit the vet this year? Responsible pet owners typically take their pets for annual checkups and to make sure their pets are protected from preventable diseases through vaccinations. Traditionally this would mean automatically administering a booster shot every three years, but many pet parents and veterinarians are now relying on titer testing to prevent giving their pets vaccinations that they really don’t need.
“Over-vaccination” can lead to allergic reactions, auto-immune diseases and in rare cases, cancer. So, determining whether or not your pet actually needs a booster is a very useful thing.1
When your pet is exposed to a virus, whether through a vaccine or from actually being sick, their immune systems respond by producing antibodies to fight infection. Titer testing tests a small amount of your pets’ blood to see whether or not he or she is already protected from the disease from a previous vaccine by measuring the amount of antibodies to a particular disease in the blood.
If your pet is already protected from a disease, then they don’t need a booster shot. This can be especially useful for pets whose health history is unknown.
Titer testing kits makes it easy to perform the test in-house instead of sending the blood sample to the lab, and pet insurances typically cover titer testing as an alternative to vaccinations.
In addition to the rabies vaccine, every puppy should receive these 3 core vaccines between 8-16 weeks of age:
And for kittens, in addition to the rabies vaccine, between the ages of 8-16 weeks:
For both cats and dogs, boosters should be administered at 1 year later, and then every 3 years, unless titer testing shows that the dog is protected. Here’s where you step in, unless your vet is already onboard.2
If your vet automatically gives your pets boosters, it’s time to ask him or her why. Currently titer testing can show immunity for parvovirus, distemper and the adenovirus according to the AAHA vaccine guidelines.
References 1 Vaccines and your pet: What you need to know. (n.d.). Retrieved from aaha.org/pet_owner/lifestyle/vaccines-and-your-pet-what-you-need-to-know.aspx 2 (n.d.). Retrieved from avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/171101f.aspx
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Combined Insurance Company of America (Chicago, IL Illinois) is a leading provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health, and life insurance products and a Chubb company. With a tradition of nearly 100 years of success, we have an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and are one of Ward’s Top 50® Performing Life-Health Insurance Companies. Combined Insurance is also the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the over $1B revenue category for 2019 by VIQTORY. This is the company’s eighth consecutive year on the top 10 list and fifth consecutive year in the top 5—Combined Insurance was previously named the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the nation for 2015 and 2016. In New York, products are underwritten by Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (Latham, NY).
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