Canine Parvovirus – Vaccination vs antibody testing

rotator-photo-bA lot of people are asking us about cases of parvo in this area  and what  they can do to try to prevent their pet getting it. Vaccination and antibody titre testing are ways to try to reduce the risk. Please read below to find out more about this….

The best protection against parvovirus is vaccination. The timing of vaccination is critical to ensure a good immune response. We recommend vaccination at 8 and 12 weeks to maximise the chances of success. We are concerned about the efficacy of some early finish vaccination protocols so strongly advise second vaccination is not given until 11-12 weeks.

One of the reasons for the early vaccination protocols is to encourage early socialisation of pups. We strongly recommend early socialisation but believe it can be done in a safe and effective way before the vaccination course is completed. Please give us a call if you wish to discuss this.

The first booster vaccination 12 months after the initial course is also vital to produce solid immunity. Then we recommend parvo vaccination every 3 years but other components of the vaccine need to be done yearly.

An alternative to vaccination is blood testing for antibody levels. There are some concerns with antibody testing. Firstly, antibodies are only part of the immune response. Another very important part of the immune system is cell mediated immunity which cannot be tested for but is very important in the face of viral infections. Therefore, antibody testing does not guarantee safety against infection. Secondly, knowing exactly the correct levels of antibodies that confer immunity in the face of infection is debatable.

Despite the above issues, antibody titre reading can be useful but has always been very expensive. However, new in house kits have brought the cost down so we are now able to offer antibody testing for £29.00.

In summary, we would still recommend vaccination as the best way to protect your dog against parvovirus. It has stood the test of time and we believe still offers the most reliable protection. However, if you chose not to vaccinate your dog or want added peace of mind that your vaccinated dog is protected cost effective antibody testing is now available.

Please call us now if you are worried whether your pet’s vaccinations are up to date or if you would like a titre antibody test.