Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rabies Titers

Rabies Titer Gone? Research: Protection is Not!


I stumbled on some very hot news in the research world the other day. Hot, because it affects how you think about rabies vaccinations, a sore spot for many of you. The lead author is Michael Moore, D.V.M, Ph.D. who heads the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

This is the lab that runs rabies titers for probably all of North America, and maybe beyond. If you ask your local vet for a rabies titer (and don’t get a quizzical look, “Titer??”), or you ask Dr. Jean Dodds to do it, this is where your animal’s blood gets sent.

As a quick review, a titer is a measure of the antibodies in the blood. Antibodies can come from exposure to disease (like Ida, my dog patient fighting Lymes) or from vaccinations. I’ve warned about over interpreting the latter results, which could result in revaccinating your animal unnecessarily. It’s important that you understand this, if you want to intelligently avoid vaccinations.

Lies, and Statistics. Oh, and Revelations.

The study, published this week in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association is titled, “Comparison of anamnestic responses to rabies vaccination in dogs and cats with current and out-of-date vaccination status.

It reveals some interesting facts, buried in scientific jargon and statistical analysis guaranteed to give the average reader a headache. [Anamnestic means immune memory response. Think of it as the booster effect.]  Read the entire article

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