Annual Boosters- Needed or Pointless?

First thing I’d like to clarify is that I am not a Veterinarian, Do not take anything you read on this blog in replacement of Veterinary Advice.

What are Boosters?

Boosters are a “Top Up” of a vaccine already administered, some core and some non-core depending on your individual circumstances. (Geographical Location Typically)

Here’s a list of vaccines for your dogs:

Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) – CORE

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) –CORE

Canine Leptospira.- CORE

Canine Adenovirus (CAV)- CORE

Canine parainfluenza virus (CPi) – Non-Core

Bordetella bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough). – Non-Core (Common if you put your dogs in kennels)

Canine Rabies – Non-Core (Not in the UK unless travel outside the UK, Pet passport to show Rabies Vaccine 3 months prior to travel)

Info taken from

Why are boosters given?

Boosters are simply there to ensure immunity to disease/virus and to stop diseases from spreading (Insert Eye Roll).

How do they work?

Well just like the initial vaccine administered , a live or dead version of the virus/disease is injected directly into the blood on the pretence that the lymphatic system would respond by creating adequate antibodies to fight the disease/virus.

The lymphatic system creates memory cells when they come across a threat to the body in respect of disease/virus, these memory cells decide what antibodies to release into the blood in order to combat at an optimum level.

Why boost if vaccines work?

Well unfortunately there’s a couple of mitigating factors to this question, the first one being is that in order for the immunologist to know your dogs immunity level is by running a Titre Test, this is an antigen blood test, if antibodies are present for a specific disease then they’re immune to it! Unfortunately they don’t do these as standard (like they used back in the 60s like Dr Ronald Schultz claims, in his words the industry has lost its way)

Why I think boosters are Pointless!

As dogs have typically previously been Vaccinated, then their lymphatic system will already have these cell memories, so when you “Boost” the initial cell memories from the Vaccines will interfere with the “Booster” , you cannot get a “Second Chance” at creating immunity, you have your cell memories and then a microbiome to support your immune system.

Are Titres 100% reliable/accurate?

Unfortunately not, as they are a blood test and show numbers of antigens present at the time, this has one big flaw and that’s the fact it’s a blood test, a dog can still be immune and show no antigens in the blood, this is due to no recent contact naturally, remember antigens are created by the lymphatic system and stored there, they’re not stored in the blood permanently!

Why don’t vets do Titres as standard after vaccines or boosters?

Well this would be because if a Titre came back as immune then Vets cannot “Boost” for that disease (s) as immunising an already immune animal is malpractice! This would be a great loss on revenue, if they only vaccinated upon insufficient antibodies , then in my experience their clinic will seize trading.

Would I recommend a Titre?

100% , I’d personally recommend Vaccicheck which is a blood test for the 3 core vaccines.

Vaccicheck <Click. (No Affiliation)

Do companies accept Titres?

I hope they do? But unfortunately I can’t speak for all, but insurance companies etc usually do set these terms out in their policy documents which from my experience, they usually accept Titres.

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