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AKC Vaccination Article

Posted by Amanda on January 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM

The AKC Pet Healthcare Plan recognizes that veterinary care and treatments for your pet is ever changing. We try to keep up with these trends to ensure that you and your pet have the most comprehensive insurance plans available. Much like the human healthcare industry, every year old methodologies and processes are being challenged and newer technology and thought processes are introduced. One of the age old practices currently being challenged is the way we vaccinate our pets. It has sparked a heated debate over which method is better; giving annual vaccinations or taking a blood sample for vaccine titers? As a result, the AKC Pet Healthcare Plan now offers vaccine titer coverage on our Wellness Plus Plan.

What is a vaccine titer?

The term titer refers to the strength or concentration of a substance in a solution. A titer is a blood test that can identify the presence of antibodies induced by vaccinations. This test will determine if a pet really needs a vaccine prior to it actually getting one.

Why do a titer test?

Recent findings have shown that we might be over vaccinating our pets. Studies have shown some harmful side effects of over vaccinating, including minor allergic reactions such as facial swelling, itching, cancerous tumors in cats, autoimmune diseases in dogs such as anemia, platelet problems and joint disease has been linked as well.

Annual vaccinations have saved millions of dogs and cats lives. Prior to the days of effective vaccines, dogs frequently died from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and complications of upper respiratory infections. However, many states now take note that annual vaccinations are not always in the best interest of the pet. Some states have changed annual rabies vaccines to once every three years.

The actual number of dogs negatively impacted by over vaccinations is not known. There is no longer a national database in the United States that allows veterinarians to report adverse vaccine reactions. The U.S. Pharmacopeia's Veterinary Practitioners' Reporting Program lost funding in April of 2003. The website reports that adverse vaccine reactions may be as frequent as one in every thousand dogs.

The debate over vaccines and titers is ongoing. Enlightened pet owners are consulting with their veterinarians to decide on the best way to vaccinate their pet, based on factors such as their pet's age, health status, environment and potential exposure to infectious diseases. Veterinarians are leaning toward vaccination protocols that are tailored to each pet's individual needs and risk of exposure.

Veterinarians may recommend a titer test rather than booster vaccinations for some pets. Ask your veterinarian for details to determine the best alternative for your pet. Whatever choice is made, the AKC Pet Healthcare Plan has you covered with our Wellness Plus Plan or Wellness Plan. If you already have a dog or cat insured under the AKC Pet Healthcare Plan and were not aware of the titer coverage in the Wellness Plus Plan, call our Customer Service Team today toll free at 1.866.725.2747 for details.


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