Originally Posted by Noelle&Oliver
In states where rabies is required by law, does the titre count qualify as a "booster"? Also, do you think that vet's will be open to the idea of testing titre levels, rather than giving the vaccine every time? I ask because I have been doing some reading lately about over vaccinating and I'm trying to find a happy medium. I certainly don't want to break the law, but I also really don't want to harm my cats. I recently had a cat that was doing ok with CRF (his numbers were holding steady), but within 2-3 weeks of recieving his rabies booster in January, he rapidly declined and passed away. I have no idea if there was a connection, but the thought is always in the back of my mind.
Typically, yes, titres are acceptable especially with a note from a vet saying that vaccination is not advisable for the animal (the animal can be perfectly healthy and this can still be the case!). Titres must be performed annually, though.
With regard to the law, for me when it comes to a decision between my cat's health and the law, I'll disobey the law. One of my cats has not been vaccinated for rabies because it is medically unadvisable for him, and another was vaccinated once (like all the others) but the vet has told me specifically that he should not receive any more vaccines, ever. Frankly, I'm going to listen to the advice of my vet over the advice of legislators who, while well intentioned, do not have the knowledge that a doctor has. Given how vaccine-happy doctors tend to be as a whole, if a non-holistic vet tells me that my cat should not be vaccinated then I am going to listen!
There's also the point that the odds of your getting caught are somewhere between slim and none. And if the DOH does come after you, then all you have to do is get the vaccine done at that point - no big deal.
Also, read the wording of your local code carefully. I read mine and it says only that cats and dogs over 4 months of age must be vaccinated for rabies. There's no mention whatsoever about re-vaccination! So based on the wording of the law, a single vaccine followed by annual titre checks would have to be acceptable. It's a very convenient loophole.
As for whether or not vets would be okay with titre checks, that depends on the individual vet. Many would be okay, some wouldn't, and certainly there's nothing wrong with shopping around until you find a vet willing to comply with informed decisions you've made about your pet's health. To be frank, finances may be a motive for a vet practice. Vaccines are a substantial money maker for them - a vaccine costs about $3 but you are usually charged around $25. The markup for lab tests is usually quite a bit less. Some vets may also not be comfortable going against "the rules" they've learned in the past even when more recent information indicates that "the old way" has its problems. But at the end of the day, you're the consumer and you can make choices. Any vet who insists on turning my cat into a pincushion as a condition of even looking at his inflamed eye (or whatever the complaint du jour) is not a vet that I want caring for my pet.