Understanding the Use of Antibody Titres in Veterinary Practice

Kate Boatright, VMD

As concerns about over-vaccination and vaccine-associated injuries have grown in human medicine, vaccine compliance has decreased. In some areas, these concerns have spilled over into veterinary medicine and led pet owners to question the vaccine protocols recommended by their veterinarian. Due to these concerns, vaccine titre may be requested in lieu of vaccination. In other cases, the veterinarian may recommend a titre due to a patient’s history.

No matter who suggests performing a titre, it is imperative that we as veterinarians understand which titre are reliable and how to interpret them to best protect our patients. The AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines, published in 2017 and updated in 2018, include a section on antibody testing for vaccine-preventable diseases.

In a lecture at the 2020 Midwest Veterinary Conference, held in February in Columbus, Ohio, lead guidelines editor Richard Ford, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVPM (Hon), discussed utilisation of antibody titres in companion animal practice. He encouraged practitioners to shift their thinking away from the dichotomy of vaccination versus titre testing and instead consider “using antibody testing to assess response to vaccines.”

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