Dog Flu

February 8, 2016 on 6:52 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

Yes it’s flu season, which means we’re getting many calls about the dog flu. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so here are a few quick facts to keep your dog healthy this flu season.

1.First, as is true with the human flu vaccine, the vaccine DOES NOT prevent the flu….the goal of vaccination is to minimize the chance of the flu causing illness, but the vaccine does not prevent infection. Ideally vaccination would minimize the severity of the illness, but as we see every year this is based, in people, upon correctly guessing which is the most prevalent strain. Last year many people were vaccinated even though the guess as to which strain was going to be a problem was wrong, making the vaccine ineffective. No data is available to determine this problem in dogs.

2.Unless your pet is at high risk for getting the flu (ie, show dogs,) it’s unlikely your pet will ever come in contact with the flu virus.

3.Still there is no way to know if the flu virus might have an opportunity to infect your dog. Therefore, boosting/maximizing your pet’s immune system is the best way to prevent diseases including the flu.

4.Maximum vitamin D level (blood levels of around 100 in dogs and greater than 50 in people) is the best, easiest, safest, least expensive way to boos your immune system and your dog’s immune system. Vitamin D is given based upon recent blood testing, your pet’s weight, and your pet’s health status.

If your pet has not had a vitamin D test within the past 6 months, call us to schedule this so your pet can get started on the correct dose of vitamin D. It’s the best thing you can do to minimize the flu causing a problem this year (and maximum vitamin D levels reduces the risk of your pet developing cancer and other infectious and immune diseases.)

Cancer Guidelines from Dr. Shawn

February 6, 2016 on 10:16 am | In General Posts | Comments Off

As you know, we are really aggressive when it comes to diagnosing and treating cancer. We have developed a number of unique therapies to boost your pet’s immune system and fight the cancer, and often we can do this without using chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Our protocols are so successful that we even get referrals from area oncologists whose patients want our help!

One such therapy is our autosanguis detoxification therapy, a unique blood therapy involving various herbal and homeopathic remedies. This detoxification is designed as a gentle cleansing for all of our patients with any chronic illness, but especially those patients with cancer. At the time blood is drawn every 3 months for testing and monitoring, a tiny amount is mixed with the remedies and injected back into the pet’s body with some diluted even more and given to the pet orally at home, along with the pet’s other cancer supplements. This is one of our therapies that help our cancer patients live, on average, 6-12 months longer than expected (most pets with cancer treated only with chemotherapy or radiation tend to live shorter lives as the immune system is not supported and the cancer spreads quicker.)

We’re often asked whether or not a lump should be removed from the pet. We painlessly aspirate all lumps using a tiny needle and syringe. If the lump is a fatty tumor or cyst, removal may not be needed as many of these will not grow (if the lump is in a location where the pet could be uncomfortable, or if the owner has insurance and cost is not an issue, we will remove it.) For those cases where the lump is or may be cancerous, it is removed and a piece sent to the lab for diagnosis and prognosis, allowing us to fine tune our treatment to give the pet the best chance at cure and longevity.

Speaking of cancer, we have completed 2 years’ worth of blood testing pets to allow early diagnosis of cancer and other immune disorders. To date, over 90% of our canine patients show abnormalities on this testing. Some of these pets were diagnosed with cancer or other serious problems BEFORE acting ill, showing the benefit of this testing. Those not diagnosed with a serious problem had their blood abnormalities corrected to prevent serious problems later in life. If you have not had this testing done (the test measures your pet’s CRP, TK, and Vitamin D levels,) please call us to schedule this important testing.

Top Reasons Pets See Vets

January 16, 2016 on 1:29 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

According to several studies done by pet insurance companies, the most common reasons pets see their doctors, other than for vaccines (which we know most pets don’t need,) are…

Skin problems
GI problems
Urinary Problems
Behavior Issues
Cancer
Epilepsy
Arthritis

Fortunately, all of these things are easily identified early, BEFORE your pet becomes ill, with a simple examination and a few basic lab tests. Any problems discovered during these tests are easily treated, usually without harmful drugs and chemicals, simply by using a few natural therapies.

A major difference between conventional and holistic medicine is that conventional doctors CAN’T treat a pet until a disease is present. Unfortunately, the presence of disease indicates a problem has been present and undiagnosed for a period of time and then finally clinical signs appear. This means that when a pet shows signs of illness the disease is no longer in its early stages but in its later stages. At this point it’s usually not possible to reverse the disease, although natural therapies are still helpful in arresting the disease and slowing down its progression.

As an example, a pet with elevated kidney enzymes but not yet sick can’t be helped by a conventional doctor because there are no drugs to treat this pet. Holistic medicine can do much to help restore this pet to health and in most cases prevent kidney failure. When we recognize subtle abnormalities we treat your pet immediately rather than wait for the problem to progress and then treat the pet when it’s really sick. This early intervention approach is just one of the many reasons our patients tend to live 3-5 years longer than pets only treated with conventional therapies.

New Year’s Resolutions

January 14, 2016 on 12:40 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

Each year I put together a list of ideas for my clients to consider for their pets. I’m happy to share it with you.

In 2016 I propose…..

To decrease the amount of vaccines and medications I give to my pets. Blood titer testing will eliminate vaccines for most pets, and choosing more natural therapies can decrease the amount of medications my pet needs.

To know my dog’s CRP, TK, and Vitamin D levels. Increased CRP/TK and decreased vitamin D can indicate undiagnosed cancer or other immune disorders and predispose my pet to developing a serious disease. A simple, inexpensive blood profile can tell me my pet’s numbers and allow me to help my pet before illness occurs.

To treat illness when first seen rather than wait a few days and watch my pet worsen. Early diagnosis and treatment is less expensive than treating a more serious problem and may save my pet’s life.

To treat skin and ear infections seriously and promptly. Many pets are being diagnosed with serious and potentially life-threatening MRSA infections, which can be transmitted to other pets and to people. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is a must!

To seriously consider purchasing pet insurance. Pet insurance covers any illness or injury and can reimburse the cost of care up to 90%. Having pet insurance means it will be easier to allow expensive testing and treatment and can save my pet’s life.

Top Reasons Pets See Vets…And How Holistic Care Helps Them

November 30, 2015 on 1:30 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off
According to several studies done by pet insurance companies, the most common reasons pets see their doctors, in addition to vaccines (which we know they don’t need,) are…

Skin problems
GI problems
Urinary Problems
Behavior Issues
Cancer
Epilepsy
Arthritis

Fortunately, all of these things are easily identified early, BEFORE your pet becomes ill, with a simple examination and a few basic lab tests. Any problems discovered during these tests are easily treated, usually without harmful drugs and chemicals, simply by using a few natural therapies.

A major difference between conventional and holistic medicine is that conventional doctors CAN’T treat a pet until a disease is present. Unfortunately, the presence of disease indicates a problem has been present and undiagnosed for a period of time and then finally clinical signs appear. This means that when a pet shows signs of illness the disease is no longer in its early stages but in its later stages. At this point it’s usually not possible to reverse the disease, although natural therapies are still helpful in arresting the disease and slowing down its progression.

As an example, a pet with elevated kidney enzymes but not yet sick can’t be helped by a conventional doctor because there are no drugs to treat this pet. Holistic medicine can do much to help restore this pet to health and in most cases prevent kidney failure. When we recognize subtle abnormalities we treat your pet immediately rather than wait for the problem to progress and then treat the pet when it’s really sick. This early intervention approach is just one of the many reasons our patients tend to live 3-5 years longer than pets only treated with conventional therapies.

Dr. Shawn’s Specialty

November 14, 2015 on 3:08 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

I’m often asked…”Dr. Shawn, what is your specialty? What makes your hospital different?”

Legally I can’t call my self a specialist (even though my clients and many of my colleagues consider what I do a specialty) since there is no board-certification program for holistic, naturopathic, and functional medicine.

However, I can answer that question. Our “specialty” involves 2 things:

We are the only hospital in North Texas offering Functional Medicine for all pets (dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and small mammals.)

Functional medicine focuses on the function of the patient’s cells, using and individualized approach to promote health and return sick patients to healthy as quickly as possible. The practices of functional medicine are useful both for healthy patients (to improve their health) as well as for those suffering from illness, especially chronic illness, to return them to health.

Functional medicine uses diet, supplements, herbs, and homeopathics to improve the health of cells in order to facilitate healing. By reviewing a history of the pet’s lifestyle, prior diseases, and diet, we carefully fine-tune our recommendations rather than recommending the same health plan or treatment regimen for every patient.

Second, we offer help when other doctors can no longer help your pet. While we prefer to see pets when they are healthy (and keep them that way,) or see your pet at the beginning stages of illness, we know that not everyone finds up at these stages. Many of our patients are considered “hopeless” by conventional doctors, who often refer these pets to us for a “last hope at treatment.”

While we can never make guarantees, we have helped (and yes, even cured and saved) many of these “hopeless” cases. We have many success stories of pets for whom conventional medicine offered no help, but by offering integrative care these pets lived many months or even years beyond their expected prognosis. We love helping these pets, knowing that many patients are saved when we work with them to effect a successful treatment or cure.

A Day in the Life of a Holistic Vet

November 3, 2015 on 2:21 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

I’m often asked just what it is that a holistic veterinarian does. In other words, how is our day different from those of our conventional colleagues? In this article, I’ll share a typical workday in the busy life of a holistic veterinarian.

Unlike conventional doctors, holistic veterinarians have 2 categories of clients. The first are those clients, usually regulars of the practice, who come in for wellness care. These pets typically are seen annually for a checkup, which includes blood titer testing to replace unnecessary vaccines, as well as other lab tests (blood profile to monitor organ function and to allow early screening for cancer and other inflammatory conditions, a fecal analysis to screen for intestinal parasites, a blood test for screening for heartworm infection, and a urinalysis to screen for disorders of the urogenital system, liver, and pancreas.) This is done every 6 months for pets 5 years of age and older (titer testing is done annually regardless of the pet’s age.) In addition to this wellness care, designed to allow early disease diagnosis and treatment, these regular patients are seen for other things such as dental cleanings and removal of tumors and cysts. In general, these regular patients tend to stay very healthy due to the holistic approach to health favored by the doctor and the pet parents; rarely do these pets develop severe problems that require aggressive treatment.

The other category of patient seen by holistic doctors are those whose owners are seeking a more natural approach to disease prevention/wellness or who suffer from (typically) chronic illnesses. These illnesses can include cancers, immune disorders, allergies, seizures, arthritis, disk problems, and diseases of the internal organs. Typically these owners prefer a safer, more natural approach to treatment rather than chronic use of conventional medications. Often these pets have not been helped by conventional doctors, or have been turned away since their cases are diagnosed as “hopeless” by conventional medicine (I share many of these stories in my book, Unexpected Miracles:Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets)

While we love keeping our regular patients healthy and free of horrible diseases, the real challenge and satisfaction comes through helping these “helpless, hopeless” cases.

Here is an example of a typical day I recently experienced that is similar to those experienced by my colleagues in the holistic field.

Wednesday February 11….

First appointment-Regular patient coming in for biannual visit (all pets 5 and over are seen twice yearly to assess health and allow for early disease detection and treatment.) Visit involves examination, discussing any concerns with pet owner, and running lab tests (blood, urine, feces) for diagnostic evaluation. Refill supplements to maintain health.

Second appointment-Regular patient returning for laser/acupuncture treatment for arthritis.

Third appointment-Regular patient dropped off for dental cleaning using holistic anesthesia and removal/biopsy of small skin tumors. Performed both procedures, took dental radiographs, and drew blood for early detection of cancer.

3 pets dropped off for continued fluid therapy and detoxification for liver and kidney disease.

1 pet dropped off for cardiac ultrasound to evaluate heart murmur/disease.

Lunch Break-Reviewed charts for hospitalized pets; updated service codes; reviewed progress of hospitalized cases. Spent time responding to client emails. Wrote article (this one!) for Animal Wellness. Wrote columns for practice newsletter. Worked on consulting job for supplement manufacturer. Prepared lecture notes for upcoming lecture to local dog club.

Afternoon First Appointment-Did phone appointment/consultation with pet owner in California who does not have local holistic veterinarian. Spoke with her about her pet’s cancer diagnosis and recommended therapy. Shipped various herbal remedies to help pet battle cancer.


Second appointment-New patient with skin disease. Reviewed medical records and examined pet. Due to the chronic nature and severity of the condition and lack of a proper diagnosis drew blood and collected urine and feces for evaluation. Scheduled skin biopsy and culture for the next day.

Released hospitalized pets to owners with discharge instructions.

Went home for a nice walk with my beautiful wife after a typically long and tough day saving lives naturally!

Note-You might be surprised that a holistic doctor sees far fewer patients (usually only half as many) as a conventional doctor. This is because we spend more time on each case rather than trying to “cram” as many appointments into our day as possible. By spending more time we can offer a more personalized approach to pet care, can accurately assess each case, and are less likely to misdiagnose a serious problem.

Of course, some holistic veterinarians (including yours truly) also stay busy doing other things. We write books (and articles!) to educate pet owners and other veterinarians. We speak at veterinary meetings, sharing our passion for this wonderful world of natural healing. Some of us have our own line of natural products that we use in practice and sell to the public, trying to make sure our patients and pets around the world have access to the best supplements to keep them healthy. The life of a holistic practitioner is indeed a very busy one but it is never boring. Each day presents its own unique challenges, as we do our best to help all pets, but especially those not helped by conventional medicine.

The Lie About “Holistic” Care

October 24, 2015 on 12:58 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

Last month I discussed our approach to holistic anesthesia, a unique way we approach sedation and anesthesia to keep your pet safe whenever anesthesia is needed. We get many referrals for this alone as so many pet parents are fearful of anesthesia, especially for older pets that may have health problems.

This month I want to discuss a disturbing trend I’m seeing among my veterinary colleagues. It’s what I call the “holistic lie.”

Recently I did an internet search for “holistic vets” in our area. I was shocked to see so many listings as I know that we are the only full service hospital offering true holistic care. I recognized many of the names listed as “holistic vets” and know they are in no way “holistic.” I’ve also had this verified by seeing many new clients who told me they were also deceived by these doctors advertising themselves as holistic, only to find out the truth during their initial visit to these doctors. Apparently these “holistic” doctors advertised they were holistic but still “pushed” vaccines, chemicals, drugs, and less-than-health name brand pet foods.

I’m concerned that my colleagues would stoop so low as to falsely advertise services they don’t offer.  A big problem is that there is no legal definition of the term “holistic,” so these vets are technically not breaking the law but are certainly breaching the public’s trust in our profession. And I know why these doctors are falsely advertising their services-the are losing business to me (and nationwide to other “real” holistic doctors.) In order to compete, they feel it is necessary to advertise they are holistic when their real goal is simply to make money.

I don’t like this deception going on in my beloved profession. I’ve worked hard to establish our hospital as the premier facility offering this specialized care. While I never mind competition as it forces the competitors to be their best, I don’t like or tolerate others lying and ripping off clients by false advertising and not providing the services the pet parent is expecting.

Unfortunately I don’t think things will change and they will likely worsen as there is no way to stop this, short of pet parents complaining to our state board as false advertising is punishable by the board.

My hope is that prospective clients who really want true holistic care will do their homework before wasting money and placing their pets’ lives at risk by doctors whose main concern is financial gain and not the health of their patients.

Feel free to ask us any questions about your pet’s care and about our specific approach to holistic anesthetic, surgery, or medicine. We welcome referrals for pet parents who are wanting to say NO to unnecessary vaccines and drugs and YES to better health!
972-867-8800 ext 0..Paws & Claws Animal Hospital

MRSA Infections in Pets-A Growing Danger

September 26, 2015 on 10:38 am | In General Posts | Comments Off

Most readers have heard of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcal Aureus.) This “superbug” has been in the human medical news a lot, as several reports of deaths (often among younger athletes who contracted the bacterium from “work-out” facilities) have been reported. Yet it may surprise you the MRSA and related bacteria are increasing among pets as well. This article will teach you what you need to know about MRSA and how to deal with a MRSA pet infection.


MRSA is the acronym for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcal Aureus. Staph aurues is a common human bacterium that can occur on pets as well (although pets, particularly dogs, are usually infected with a related Staph bacterium called Staph Pseudintermedius.) Methicillin is an antibiotic, but methicillin-resistant Staph are not killed by methiciliin or other antibiotics that typically are used to treat Staph. These methicillin-resistant Staph are considered “superbugs” because they can be hard to treat, take a long time to treat, often require treatment with very expensive antibiotics (and it’s become harder to find antibiotics that kill MRSA,) and as a result are more likely to be fatal then non-MRSA bugs. This means prevention, when possible, and early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are a must in order to protect your pet and yourself.

Staph aureus is a common human pathogen, and many people (estimates are 33% of people carry Staph in their nasal passages and 2% carry MRSA) carry the bacterium harmlessly in their nasal cavities. IF the bacteria leave the nasal cavity and infect another part of the body (as through a cut in the skin) they can quickly invade the bloodstream and cause septicemia, a deadly and often fatal infection of the entire body. In people this typically happens when handwashing is not done properly and the nasal MRSA is spread by touching another person or inanimate object that can then cause an infection when a susceptible person encounters the bacteria.

In pets, usually dogs, either Staph aureus (MRSA) or more commonly Staph intermedius (MRSI) infections can occur. Dogs and people can become infected through environmental contamination or by infecting each other (people can infect other people or dogs and dogs can infect other dogs or people.)

How Do I Know if My Dog Has MRSA?

Usually MRSA presents as a skin infection since most Staph infections in dogs tend to present with a dermatitis. Staph skin infections can appear in several forms. Typically small pustules (pimples) occur, although because they are fragile they easily rupture, leaving a red or dark inner circle surrounded by scale (a bull’s eye lesion.) Small red bumps, called papules, may also be present; these lesions most commonly occur on the less-haired areas of the body such as the abdomen and groin. In some dogs, typically shorter-haired breeds such as Labrador retrievers, they exhibit a moth-eaten appearance of partial areas of circular hair loss (alopecia) over their sides and their backs. Many dogs with Staph infections are itchy. Many dogs with (chronic) skin infections also have other diseases such as allergies and thyroid or adrenal dysfunction.

MRSA infections look just like “plain old” Staph infections, but there is an important difference. MRSA infections don’t get better when treated with antibiotics (or they improve but never really heal and continue to be present.) The only way to diagnose MRSA is through a skin culture. This can be done simply by swabbing the skin surface or through a skin biopsy (a biopsy is recommended for chronic skin disease, skin disease that doesn’t look typical, or if a culture of a skin swab is negative and MRSA is still suspected.)

I have also diagnosed some of these infections in the bladder and ears as well as the more common skin presentation.

How is MRSA Treated?

As a holistic veterinarian, I am encouraged that my traditional dermatology colleagues are finally recommending NOT using antibiotics for routine, simple skin infections. Instead they recommend frequent bathing with topical antimicrobial shampoos (but recommend not using injectable or oral antibiotics.) Research shows that simple, uncomplicated skin infections will heal without using oral antimicrobials if treated early and aggressively. Holistic veterinarians also use various herbs (astragalus, Echinacea,) for immune support and natural herbal antimicrobials (olive leaf, Oregon grape, etc.) to encourage quicker and longer-lasting healing.

Because MRSA is a tough bug to kill, and because it often develops when inappropriate and long term antibiotic treatment is used to treat any problem, specific antibiotics must be used, along with topical shampoos and herbal remedies, in order to kill MRSA. A sensitivity test, done alongside the skin culture, suggests which antibiotics MIGHT be helpful in killing MRSA. In general most antibiotics that are routinely used in veterinary practice are ineffective against MRSA. MRSA is typically only sensitive to expensive “human” antibiotics that must be given for 1-2 months or longer. Because MRSA can be fatal, especially in humans, it is recommended to save the “newer” more aggressive antibiotics for life-threatening infections in people and not use them to treat skin infections in pets.

Due to increased resistance to the Staph and because antibiotics must be used for extended periods in order to kill the Staph; probiotics should also be provided to the pet. Because the infection can be transmitted by objects, anything that pet has contacted such as blankets, pillows, or toys should be washed thoroughly and regularly.

Treatment is continued until the skin looks normal AND a repeat culture fails to identify the Staph bacterium. Ongoing care with regular bathing and herbs or homeopathics are used as dictated by each case.

The takeaway message is this:treat skin infections early and aggressively without using antibiotics except for serious infections. If the infection is not better the skin may need to be biopsied and cultured to confirm the diagnosis. Regardless of whether or not antibiotics are needed or are used, regular bathing and the use of immune-stimulating herbs and probiotics are essential.

Note-This photo shows one of the many faces of MRSA. This pet was diagnosed with “allergies and infection” but failed to improve until I properly diagnosed its MRSA infection.

Titer Testing-A Natural Approach to Vaccinations

August 17, 2015 on 5:57 pm | In General Posts | Comments Off

As a holistic veterinarian, I know that vaccinations can be both helpful and harmful, depending upon their usage. While limited vaccinations will help establish immunity in our younger pets, repeated and unnecessary vaccinations can be harmful if the immune system acts inappropriately and harms the pet. This article will explore vaccine titers and offer support to those of you who choose this route for your pets.

Q:What exactly are titer tests?

Vaccine titer tests are simple blood tests that measure your pet’s antibodies to certain diseases. In most practices these disesaes include distemper, parvo, and hepatitis virus for dogs and rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia virus for cats. The titer is a mathematical number derived from testing your pet’s blood for antibodies against these disesaes. A positive titer means that your pet has antibodies against a specific disease (the titer usually results from prior vaccination to that disease or exposure to that disease) and indicates your pet is protected from disesaes from that virus. For example, a positive titer to distemper virus indicates your dog is protected from distemper virus.

Q:If my pet has a positive titer, will additional vaccines be harmful?

Giving additional vaccinations to a dog that has a positive titer will not offer more protection, is a waste of health care dollars, and could be harmful if the pet reacted inappropriately to an unnecessary vaccine. Positive titers indicate your pet is protected and vaccines can be skipped that year.

Q:My vet says titer tests are useless. Why would he say this?

I don’t really know why some doctors say this unless they are ignorant of basic immunology. Titer testing is used every day in veterinary practice to diagnose diseases such as heartworm disease and feline leukemia virus infection. Additionally, veterinarians who have been vaccinated against rabies virus routinely have their titers tested to determine if and when they might need to be revaccinated.

Q:Can I board or groom my pet if I choose titer testing in place of traditional vaccines?

Since boarding and grooming facilities, and doggie daycare businesses require vaccination, either recent vaccination or titer testing showing the pet is protected and not in need of additional vaccinations should be acceptable. Grooming and boarding facilities associated with a veterinary clinic usually will NOT accept titer results, whereas other facilities not associated with a veterinary clinic usually WILL accept either titers or vaccines. Check with the facility to be sure.

Q:What about rabies shots?

Rabies titer testing is done frequently in people as mentioned above. It is an acceptable method to determine protection against rabies in pets as well, and is required for international transportation. Unfortunately, most city, state, and county laws require frequent rabies vaccinations as they do not accept titer testing. Hopefully this will change someday. For now, vaccination for rabies done every 3 years is adequate as long as your pet is healthy.


Q:I’ve heard that titer testing is expensive. Is this true?

This depends. Some veterinarians, especially those who don’t routinely do titer testing, charge a lot for this testing I’ve seen some client invoices in my area for $200-400 for titer testing for dogs just for distemper and parvo virus. In my own practice, we do the titer testing for distemper, parvo, and hepatitis virus (3 titers rather than 2) PLUS the complete annual visit (which includes an examination, heartworm test, fecal test, and urinalysis) for under $200. If you visit a doctor who routinely does the testing, especially if it’s done in the doctor’s office, it is very reasonably priced.

Q:Is it better to do the titer testing in the doctor’s office or have him send the sample to an outside lab for testing?

By doing the testing “in-house,” the cost is greatly reduced and quality control is increased due to a smaller volume of patients being tested. That being said, outside labs can do titer testing nicely especially for busier practices that may not have time to do the testing in the office, but the pricing is likely to be higher when testing is done by an outside lab.

Q:When should titer testing be done?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Most holistic veterinarians do limited vaccines for their puppy and kitten patients, following a series of immunizations to ensure adequate protective immunity without “overdoing it” like traditional doctors. A limited booster series may be done 1 year following the final puppy or kitten visit, at approximately 18 months of age. Then titer testing is done the following year and continues annually for the life of the pet. Vaccines are given only when titer testing shows a need for them based upon the pet’s immunity.

Titer testing can also be done for stray pets or rescue/adopted pets for whom the vaccination history is not known. These pets can be immunized if needed based upon titer testing results.

Q:If I need to vaccinate my pet based upon titer testing results, when would the next titer test be done?

It would be done the following year when your pet’s annual visit occurs. It is expected that the titer test would be normal at that time, indicating protective immunity without the need for immunization. However, we don’t know that for sure so titer testing should be done annually following the booster immunization.

Q:Titer testing sounds great! Is there any downside to doing this testing?

Not really. However, no test is perfect. Titer testing does tell us a lot about the state of your pet’s immune system and its ability to prevent specific diseases. There is no guarantee that a titer will protect your pet, but there is also no guarantee a vaccine will protect your pet either. If your groomer or boarding facility does not accept titer results, you will either need to ove-rvaccinate your pet (not a good choice) or find another facility that is more open-minded and concerned with your pet’s health (a much better choice.)

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