Annual Pet Vaccinations may be Reduced With KSU Test

Scientists have created a test that could potentially decrease the amount of yearly rabies vaccines for pets.

Scientists at Kansas State University have modified the titer test in hopes that a booster is all that's needed if a pet is exposed to rabies.

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Scientists at Kansas State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have modified a test that measures an animal's immune response to the rabies virus. It's a change that will cost pet owners less money and may help reduce the number of yearly vaccines for pets.

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory scientists at Kansas State University say that testing dogs and cats for titers provides “a valid indication of the animal’s resistance to the rabies virus,” according to a KSU press release. If a pet is bitten or in another way exposed to rabies and had a titer test measurement of 0.5 international units per millimeter or more, a booster may be all that’s needed. The modified titer test developed by the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory scientists, however, does not replace a pet’s initial core vaccinations, as unvaccinated pets who have been exposed to rabies either face euthanasia or a six-month quarantine. However, it would mean the annual rabies booster would be eliminated.

"In both domestic cats and dogs, there is a positive correlation between rabies neutralizing antibody titers and the level of protection," Rolan Davis, a researcher in the Kansas State University Rabies Laboratory, said in the KSU press release. "We are certainly not against vaccinations; we are against rabies. We are looking for the best ways to prevent rabies in animals and humans."

According to the KSU press release, national veterinary organizations have not yet accepted the test as a standard means of indicating protection from rabies. Do you think they should?

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