Dr. Karen Becker's article & interview with Dr. W. Jean Dodds on veterinary antibody titers: What Exactly Are Antibody Titers? | Types of Titer Tests
"Dr. Dodds explained that certain diseases produce what we call 'sterile immunity.' Those diseases include distemper, parvo, and hepatitis in dogs, and panleukopenia in cats. When an animal is exposed to these diseases and recovers, or is vaccinated properly against them, the animal becomes immunized. ....
When an animal is properly vaccinated and becomes immunized, he receives sterile immunity, which is long lasting -- a minimum of seven to nine years, to a maximum of lifetime immunity -- as measured by titer tests. This means the pet cannot become infected, nor will he shed the virus should he be exposed."
"There are antibody titer levels, and there are things called immune memory cells, which remain for a lifetime. Even with low titer values following vaccination, pets may still be protected for up to a year or even longer by immune memory cells...Dr. Dodds explains that she’s not overly worried about a low distemper titer unless the pet is around wildlife. She does worry about parvo. If a parvo titer comes back negative on an ELISA and positive on an IFA, again, the results go to the animal’s vet so he or she can make the judgment call. But Dr. Dodds does discourage vets from delivering combination vaccines and recommends instead a single parvovirus vaccine booster. Single-agent vaccines are significantly less stressful to the body immunologically."
Dr. W. Jean Dodds videotaped interview on veterinary titers Dr. Becker and Dr. Dodds Talk About Titers - YouTube .
Kris L. Christine
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Dr. Jean Dodds' Pet Health Resource Blog | Frequently Asked Questions about Titers and Vaccination Protocol by Dr. Dodds
Frequently Asked Questions about Titers and Vaccination Protocol by Dr. Dodds
We frequently receive questions regarding Dr. Dodds’ Canine Vaccination Protocol and thought we would put together a short FAQ to help your dog. We also invite you to explore the section tagged "Vaccines" “on our blog as we have several posts about specific vaccines, viruses, and titers.
Question: The breeder vaccinated before nine weeks of age. How do I start your vaccination protocol now?
Answer: Just continue with the regular minimum vaccine protocol of Distemper and Parvovirus at 9 and 14 weeks.
Question: It is difficult to find a veterinarian who gives only the DPV (Nobivac Puppy-DPv) per your vaccination protocol. Can you recommend a vet?
Answer: You or your veterinarian can purchase it online from such places as Revival Animal Health or KV Vet Supply. Your vet can then administer the shot.
Question: We purchased a puppy from a breeder who only vaccinates for Parvovirus. Should my dog also have Distemper?
Answer: Your dog does need a distemper virus shot – in fact two doses are needed 3-4 weeks apart. You can purchase it yourself. The only monovalent, single distemper shot on the market today is NeoVacc-D by NeoTech – available online from such places as Revival Animal Health or KV Vet Supply. (Note: you can also purchase a single shot of Parvovirus from the same places.)
Question: What kind of rabies vaccine should I get?
Answer: The rabies vaccine should be thimerosal (mercury) – free – i.e. Merial IMRAB TF.
Question: Are there any methods to stop the potential side effects of vaccine reactions?
Answer: You can pre-treat dogs with the oral homeopathics, Thuja and Lyssin, to help blunt any adverse effects of the rabies vaccine. For other vaccines, just Thuja is needed. These homeopathics can be given the day before, the day of, and the day after the vaccine. Some product protocols suggest a different regimen for them.
Question: Why won’t my state take my dog’s rabies titer test so he can avoid the vaccine?
Answer: At this time, no state will accept a rabies titer in lieu of the shot. Additionally, a rabies titer does not satisfy any state’s medical exemption clause. For a list of states with medical exemptions, please visit The Rabies Challenge Fund Duration of Immunity Study for Rabies Vaccine - Rabies Challenge Fund. There are currently 18 states that officially recognize exemptions from rabies booster, but only on a justified case-by-case basis and following the specific requirements of that state.
Question: What is the point of a rabies titer test if my state won’t accept it as a medical exemption?
Answer: There are two reasons:
1) Rabies titer results are required by many rabies-free countries or regions in order for dogs and cats to qualify for a reduced quarantine period prior to entry. Some of these regions are Hawaii, Guam, Japan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Australia, New Zealand, France, and the United Kingdom. Always check with the destination authority to verify the pet importation.
2) The CDC states that a rabies titer of 0.1 IU/mL or higher is acceptable to protect a person from rabies. Further, the results of the 5-year Rabies Challenge Fund Study showed that immunologic memory for rabies vaccination remains at or above that level of immunity. This information is helpful for pet guardian peace-of-mind in areas where clinical rabies cases occur, and the dog or cat is medically exempt from further rabies boosters.
Question: Every year, the titer shows them as low on their distemper antibodies. What should I do?
Answer: I do suggest titer testing your dog every three years for both distemper and parvovirus.
Additionally, any measurable titer to either distemper & parvovirus means that the dog has specific committed immune memory cells to respond and afford protection upon exposure. If your dogs consistently have no measurable titer to canine distemper virus, it means mean that they are distemper “non-or low-responders”, an heritable trait where they will never mount immunity to distemper and will always be susceptible. These dogs should not be used for breeding.
As non-or low-responders to distemper are rare (1:5000 cases), my suggestion is that you retest at least one of them at Hemopet.
Question: My veterinarian believes anytime dogs are in contact with water that they are at HIGH risk for contracting leptospirosis.
Answer: Not so. Most Leptospirosis strains (there are about 200) do not cause disease, and of the seven clinically important strains, only four — L. icterohaemorrhagiae, L. canicola, L. grippotyphosa, and L. pomona serovars — are found in today’s vaccines. So, exposure risk depends upon which serovars of Lepto have been documented to cause clinical leptospirosis in the area where you live. You can call the county health department or local animal control and ask.
W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843
Kris L. Christine
The Rabies Challenge Fund