Clinical use of serum parvovirus and distemper virus antibody titers for determining revaccination strategies in healthy dogs

Lisa Twark DVM1,2 and W. Jean Dodds DVM3
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  • 1 Hemopet and Antech Diagnostics, 17672A Cowan Ave, Irvine, CA 92614.
  • | 2 Present address: 5423 Hwy 66N, Rogersville, TN 37857.
  • | 3 Hemopet and Antech Diagnostics, 17672A Cowan Ave, Irvine, CA 92614.


Objective—To assess whether serum canine parvovirus (CPV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) antibody titers can be used to determine revaccination protocols in healthy dogs.

Design—Case series.

Animals—1,441 dogs between 6 weeks and 17 years old.

Procedure—CPV and CDV antibody titers in serum samples submitted to a commercial diagnostic laboratory were measured by use of indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) tests. On the basis of parallel measurements of CPV and CDV serum antibody titers in 61 paired serum samples determined by use of hemagglutination inhibition and serum neutralization methods, respectively, we considered titers ≥ 1:5 (IFA test) indicative of an adequate antibody response.

Results—Age, breed, and sex were not significantly associated with adequate CPV- or CDV-specific antibody responses. Of 1,441 dogs, 1,370 (95.1%) had adequate and 71 (4.9%) had inadequate antibody responses to CPV, whereas 1,346 of 1,379 (97.6%) dogs had adequate and 33 (2.4%) had inadequate responses to CDV. Vaccination histories were available for 468 dogs (468 for CPV, 457 for CDV). Interval between last vaccination and antibody measurement was 1 to 2 years for the majority (281/468; 60.0%) of dogs and 2 to 7 years for 142 of 468 (30.3%) dogs. Interval was < 1 year in only 45 of 468 (9.6%) dogs.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—The high prevalence of adequate antibody responses (CPV, 95.1%; CDV, 97.6%) in this large population of dogs suggests that annual revaccination against CPV and CDV may not be necessary. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:1021–1024)