The key to this story is a medical procedure known as a ‘blood titer’ — a type of blood test that measures the amount and type of disease antibodies in an animal’s blood as a way of testing what they might (keyword) have natural immunity against. If a dog is administered a blood titer and is found to have antibodies for rabies in its blood, that suggests (again, keyword) that they have immunity to rabies.
You can see where this is going.
In pet anti-vaxxer circles (what a sentence), it’s become trend du jour to request that instead of vaccinations, their pet receives a blood titer in order to discover what they’re already ‘immune’ to and therefore, what they don’t need to be vaccinated against. Except, that’s not how it works at all. The titers aren’t magical disease sniffer-outers, they’re mere suggestions. Remember the hypothetical dog from earlier who tested positive for rabies antibodies? He still needs to be vaccinated against rabies because in the words of the CDC, “evidence of antibodies in animals should not be used as a substitute for current vaccination […] or determining the need for booster vaccination.”
To summarise, it’s exactly what anti-vaxxers are doing with regard to human vaccinations. They’re using woo-woo science and dipshit doctors to exempt their pets from their mandatory vaccinations, on the shaky grounds that they’re unnecessary, dangerous, and only happen because veterinarians are greedy profit-seeking monsters.
Speaking of, the unofficial ‘face’ of this crusade is John Robb — an anti-vaxxer who in 2017, was stripped of his job as a veterinarian for deliberately underdosing dogs who came into his practice for their state-mandated rabies vaccination. After this, he went into politics and attempted to get Connecticut and New Hampshire to pass bills making it legal for veterinarians to perform titers instead of rabies vaccinations, bills which both legislatures swiftly put down like Old Yeller — a dog who conveniently for this metaphor, could really have used a rabies vaccination.
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These days, Robb earns a living by titer testing dogs — and if they come back clean, selling their anti-vaxxer owners a rabies ‘immunity certificate,’ which (as you can probably guess) has about as much legal weight as, well, a piece of paper onto which a failed veterinarian has scribbled the words “NO RABIES HERE.”
The biggest irony of all, however, is that for all the whining from pet anti-vaxxers about how veterinarians only vaccinate because it makes them fat stacks of cash, it really doesn’t. If they ever bothered to check, they’d find that vaccinations cost, like, $40, and there’s only so much you can mark them up before owners go elsewhere. But do you know what does make veterinarians money? Blood titers, which retail for $175. If the vet community was as grasping as Robb suggests, they’d be clamoring to appease him and his legions of idiots. But they don’t, because they care more about animals and people than making money and propagating dangerous horseshit ideologies, which is something that Robb could maybe stand to learn a thing or two about.
Adam Wears is (allegedly) a comedy writer. Want to read other articles he’s written for Cracked? Click here! Want to follow him on Twitter? Click here! Want to check out his website? Click here!
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