At East-West Animal Hospital, we believe all pets that are at risk for certain diseases should be vaccinated against them if they are healthy enough. We only vaccinate what is necessary for each individual pet. We do not believe in “over-vaccinating” and will not recommend vaccinating your pet for anything it is not at risk for. We also will not recommend vaccines if we feel your pet is not healthy enough for them- That is where titers and medical exemption letters come in!
Once dogs/cats are around 4 years of age, having received the appropriate amount of DHPP (dogs) or FVRCP (cats) vaccinations for their age, they are eligible for vaccine titers to determine if continued vaccination is necessary. Vaccine titers for Distemper virus and Parvovirus (dogs) or Panleukopenia and Calicivirus (cats) are currently available. The vaccine titers specifically measure the antibody concentration your pet has to these specific viruses to determine if they are protected against them and if continued vaccinations are needed for adequate immunity. These titer levels are typically measured annually. If the levels are adequate, a vaccine is not administered; if the levels are below adequate, then an additional vaccine is typically administered if your pet is healthy.
There are not reliable titer tests for Rabies or other vaccines (Leptospirosis, Influenza, Bordetella, FeLV, or FIV) for dogs or cats.
If a dog or cat is of a certain age, vaccines may be discontinued due to age. Rabies is the only vaccine that is required by law. This vaccine is usually continued for life unless your veterinarian feels the risk of vaccination outweighs the benefit.
Holly - Medically Exempt for age. 10-19-2002 and going strong!
A Medical Exemption Letter can then be written by the veterinarian, which states that it is in the best interest for your pet not to receive his/her rabies vaccine. This letter is accepted by the county and makes it legal for your pet not to be up to date on its rabies vaccine but does need to be renewed annually.
Vaccines may also be discontinued due to medical conditions such as cancer, auto-immune diseases or if your pet has a history of vaccine reactions. In these cases, vaccine titers are recommended for DHPP or FVRCP (depending on species), a medical exemption letter is written by the veterinarian, in lieu of a Rabies vaccine and the other optional vaccines are simply not administered.
If you would like to discuss vaccine titers or medical exemption letters for you pet, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-948-6534.