Is There A Vaccine That Will Protect My Dog From Lyme Disease
A safe and generally effective vaccine is available for protecting dogs against Lyme disease. This vaccine is initially given twice, at two- to four-week intervals.
“Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity.”
Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity. Vaccination against Lyme disease will be determined by your pet’s lifestyle and individual risk assessment. Be sure to discuss any questions you may have regarding the type and frequency of vaccination with your veterinarian.
Most Dogs Never Get Sick
A study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. In the experiment, researchers infected beagles with Lyme disease. Yet none of the adult dogs showed any symptoms of the disease.
They used beagle puppies. This is because puppies would have weaker immune systems than adult dogs. They showed about four days of transient symptoms such as fever and lameness in the same study.
After four days of on-and-off symptoms, the pups became asymptomatic. This means their bodies cleared the infection without any treatment.
Meryl P Littman was the lead reaearcher. She explains exposure to Lyme disease is common, but the disease isnt.
95% of exposed dogs dont get sick, but they become Lyme antibody-positive on tests, which may scare people into thinking they need to be treated, she says. In some areas in New England, 70 90% of healthy dogs are Lyme-positive. At PennVet, we found about 40% of healthy dogs are Lyme-positive in our area.
So, it seems that Lyme disease isnt all that common. Dogs arent that likely to get it, even when infected.
Testing For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease spread by ticks can be diagnosed with a simple blood tests in your veterinarian’s clinic. The C6 test is very sensitive and specific at diagnosing cases of Lyme disease and depending on clinical signs and concurrent results, treatment may be started immediately. If treatment has been successful, reductions in the QC6 at six months should be lower than the starting point.
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How To Prevent Lyme Disease
People with pets should:
- Use reliable tick-preventive products. Speak with your veterinarian about what tick preventive product is right for your pet.
- Work with your veterinarian to decide whether to vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease. Your veterinarians advice may depend on where you live, your pet’s lifestyle and overall health, and other factors.
- When possible, avoid areas where ticks might be found. These include tall grasses, marshes and wooded areas.
- Check for ticks on both yourself and your animals once indoors.
- Clear shrubbery next to homes.
- Keep lawns well maintained.
As noted above, there are preventive Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs, but they aren’t necessarily recommended for every dog. Consult your veterinarian to see if the vaccination makes sense for your pets. If your veterinarian does recommend that your dog be vaccinated against Lyme disease, the typical protocol will involve an initial vaccination followed by a booster 2-4 weeks later and annual boosters after that.
Recommended Puppy Vaccination Schedule
Heres an idea of what your puppys vaccination schedule might look like:
- 3 to 4 weeks old: Bordetella
- 6 weeks old: DA2P
- 6 to 8 weeks old: Canine influenza
- 6 to 8 weeks old: Parainfluenza
- 8 weeks old: Bordetella
- 8 to 9 weeks old: Leptospirosis and lyme
- 12 weeks old: Rabies
Its important to note theres no universal puppy vaccination schedule your vet will be able to help you figure out whats right for your individual pup.
It is very tricky to make general guidelines for people to follow because it really depends what vaccines their puppy has already received and the manufacturer of the vaccines, Dr. Bustamante told The Dodo. For example, the bordetella vaccine has to be boostered if it is injected but does not if it is in the oral form.
You might be inclined to get your pup his vaccines all at the same time , but thats not necessarily the best approach.
Many puppies get multiple vaccines at the same time however, veterinarians can recommend doing one vaccine at a time, Dr. Bustamante said. Common reasons for doing separate vaccines are if the pet has a health condition or previous vaccine reactions.
That being said, the American Animal Hospital Association does have some suggestions:
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The Lyme Vaccine Contains Dangerous Ingredients
Kidney disease isnt the only risk that comes with the Lyme vaccine.
Vaccines carry harmful chemicals and heavy metals like:
You see, vaccines carry live or inactivated viruses. But the amount is so small that the immune system wont recognize. These chemicals are added to create an exaggerated immune response to the virus.
And there are two problems with this
1. This type of chaos in the immune system can carry some serious issues. It can cause hypersensitivity disorders. Hypersensitivity is chronic inflammation, which can result in allergies, cancer and organ failure.
2. Aluminum and thimerosal can travel to the brain and cause inflammation there. If youve ever had a reactive or fearful dog, you might not have considered his vaccines as a cause.
Still dont believe me?
There was a human Lyme vaccine called LYMErix back in the 90s. 3 years after it went on the market, Smith Kline Beecham withdrew LYMErix amidst a class action suit. The class action suit came from a sea of allegations of adverse effects including:
- kidney disease
- and more
Most of the patients developed an incurable form of autoimmune arthritis. And that was worse than the arthritis caused by Lyme.
So if the Lyme vaccine isnt safe for humans, why would you give it to your dog?
Lyme Disease Exposure In Dogs Is Cheap And Easy To Diagnose
What do I mean by Lyme disease exposure? I say exposure here because the tests we use to diagnose Lyme disease actually detect antibodies in dogs, proving that they have been exposed to natural Lyme infection and their immune system has responded. However, most of these dogs are what we call assymptomatic90% will never develop clinical signs. While that is great news, recognizing that a patient has been exposed is super helpful to me in caring for their health . One of the reasons is that dogs with Lyme disease can develop joint inflammation and arthritis that is not readily apparent. Knowing a dog has tested Lyme positive puts me on guard to be hypervigilant about subtle clinical signs.
In veterinary medicine, we are lucky to have whats called the SNAP 4Dx test. This inexpensive test is run with just a few drops of blood and the results are ready in the office within minutes. Additional tests, such as one which measures the dogs antibody levels to a special peptide , are great tools for veterinarians seeking to diagnose and track Lyme positive patients.
Incidentally, nothing like the SNAP 4Dx test exists for humans, so the road to a human diagnosis is often more complicated.
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What The Research Says About Lyme Disease In Dogs
Swiss researcher Dr Thomas Rau went to areas where Lyme was common. There he studied groups of farmers who were likely exposed to Lyme.
And he found something interesting
80% of the farmers had Lyme disease, but of that 80%, only 2% showed any symptoms.
That means the vast majority of the farmers with Lyme disease were able to fight it off on their own.
But why was that?
Dr Rau decided to find out. And this is where it gets interesting
Dr Rau discovered that 100% of the people with full blown Lyme symptoms had other viruses. Ones that already stressed the immune system.
This is in line with current research that looked into cases of Lyme disease in the 90s. It revealed a link between existing health issues and Lyme disease symptoms.
Cofactors That Increase The Risk Of Lyme Disease
You now know that your dog is more likely to develop symptoms of Lyme disease if there is a coinfection.
But I bet you want to know what these underlying cofactors are.
This is where it gets weird
Dr Rau discovered that certain vaccines were cofactors for Lyme disease. And that includes the tick-borne meningoencephalitis vaccine.
Now, it isnt known whether the Lyme vaccine for dogs is a cofactor. And that is because they conducted the research on the human population.
But, I can tell you that the LYMERix human Lyme disease vaccine was only used for 18 months between 1998 and 2000. After that thye pulled off the market amidst reports of serious adverse events. And because the vaccine may have caused Lyme-like arthritis.
And they have not developed a new Lyme vaccine for humans since.
Did you catch that?
They pulled the human Lyme vaccine from the market because of safety concerns. Yet vaccination for Lyme disease is still recommended for your dogs.
Evidence is mounting that it could be this very vaccine that acts as a cofactor. That it allows Lyme to progress from flu-like symptoms into a debilitating disease.
Dr Rau explains the relationship in this short video:
Its time to stop fear
Other important cofactors for Lyme disease include:
- chronic inflammation
- other bacteria and fungi
- heavy metals and toxins
Dr Rau Dr Rau also found that all the patients in his study who reached Stage 3 had unbalanced fatty acid profiles.
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Effective Tick Preventives And Good Response To Antimicrobial Treatment
As many researchers and veterinarians in clinical practice have noted over the years, prompt treatment of clinically affected dogs with antibiotics is reported to be highly successful . It would appear, then, that Lyme borreliosis is not only a disease of low clinical significance, but it also responds readily to treatment, as per the latter part of the first criterion of AAHA. Leaving dogs susceptible to tick exposures, however, is undesirable, since ticks can harbor a number of pathogenic infectious agents other than B. burgdorferi, such as Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia spp. Tick preventives, which are shown to be highly effective in preventing the attachment and subsequent feeding of ticks , are arguably the gold standard of prevention against Borrelia infection and other tick-borne diseases.
If a tick prevention regimen is properly adhered to, there should be no need for vaccination. It is occasionally argued that B. burgdorferi vaccines are still to be recommended in cases where owner compliance with tick preventive regimens may be an issue. A plausible rationale for recommending a vaccine, however, requires good evidence of safety and efficacy. Concerns about the safety and efficacy of B. burgdorferi vaccines have previously been raised, and these topics remain controversial .
Is The Lyme Vaccine For Dogs Safe
The canine Lyme vaccination does not protect against anything but Lyme. Stone does say that if requested he will administer the vaccine and feels that safety is not an issue. The incidence of side effects are less than 2%, and when present they are basic injection site reactions. In a nutshell, Stone believes that protecting your pets from ticks in heavily infected areas is much more important than a vaccine.
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What Does The Lyme Vaccine Do
The Lyme vaccine helps to prevent Lyme disease in dogs, a bacterial infection thats transmitted by blacklegged ticks that tend to live in woods and tall grasses in many parts of the country.
I tell owners the Lyme vaccine is belt-plus-suspenders for dogs with heavy exposure to deer ticks. The belt is a spot-on product that kills deer ticks, and the Lyme vaccine is the suspenders, says Dr. Betsy Brevitz, DVM, a vet in Fanwood, New Jersey and author of The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook.
Lyme Disease In Dogs: What Your Vet Isnt Telling You
Lyme disease the mere thought of it is terrifying to pet owners everywhere.
Rashes, lameness, swollen joints these are all symptoms that you never want your dog to experience.
The good news is, the situation isnt as scary as you may have thought.
Before I tell you why, lets take a look at how dogs get Lyme disease in the first place.
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Benefits Of Dog Vaccinations
The benefits of dog vaccinations definitely outweigh those very rare risks.
The biggest benefit is obviously that youre protecting your pup from some pretty serious stuff.
In the long run, can cause far more pain and suffering and money , Dr. Lyon said. It makes a lot better sense … than getting one of these infectious diseases, some of which the dog may not recover from … or may days, maybe even weeks, in a costly ICU setting.
So, when it comes to dog vaccinations, its definitely better to be safe than sorry. And make sure you talk to your vet about those non-core ones!
Efficacy Of The Vaccine
These vaccines are extremely safe and, in conjunction with tick removal and control, prevent B burgdorferi infection and clinical Lyme disease, including Lyme nephritis.
The anecdotal evidence for this fact is overwhelming, but it has also been shown prospectively in multiple controlled studies in experimental infection and in the field. Following are just a few of many examples of such evidence in the field.
- Levy showed excellent field efficacy of canine Lyme disease vaccination in 2003.10
- In 2010, Hebert and Eschner proved the efficacy of the Lyme disease prevention protocol, including vaccination in a large Rhode Island practice.11
- In a population of guide dogs in New York, implementation of strict tick control and mandatory Lyme disease vaccination regimen reduced the number of Lyme nephritis cases from approximately 10/year to less than 1/year over 7 years.12
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Do Antibodies To B Burgdorferi Determine Active Infection
In untreated animals, antibodies to OspC and/or OspF are indicators of infection with B. burgdorferi. Many infected animals dont show clinical signs and maintain constant antibody levels to the pathogen. It is believed that many animals can control the persistent infection. However, increasing antibody values indicate re-activation of or re-infection with the pathogen.
In treated animals, antibody levels decrease slowly and are usually still detectable for several months if treatment was successful.
Da2p Vaccine For Dogs
The DA2P vaccine is a vaccine for your dog that actually works to prevent several diseases at once.
That is usually given as a combination vaccine, Dr. Lyon said.
The DA2P combination vaccine is effective against distemper, adenovirus 2 and parvovirus.
Sometimes, this combination will also include the vaccine for parainfluenza even though it isn’t technically considered a core vaccine. In these cases, the combination vaccine may be called the DHPP vaccine, where the H actually represents adenovirus 2.
Thats because the vaccine for adenovirus 2, which is a respiratory disease, is actually used to provide protection against adenovirus 1, aka hepatitis, in dogs.
The reason we dont vaccinate against adenovirus 1 … is because we used to, and it caused a complication that caused what we call blue eye in dogs, and caused them to go blind, Dr. Lyon explained. So what we realized was if we vaccinate with a relative of that virus, adenovirus 2, which is actually a respiratory virus, we get cross-protection against adenovirus 1.
In other words same protection, but much safer.
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Due To Rising Concern About The Disease In Horses We Have Elected To Offer Vaccination For Horses Following These Guidelines:
- We would first do a blood test to determine if the horse has already been exposed. This test can be run on the farm and takes about 10 minutes to have results.
- If the horse is negative for exposure, we can utilize a canine vaccine that has been shown somewhat protective in horses. The vaccine is administered, then boostered at 3 weeks. Based on current research, the protective effects of the vaccination are short lived, requiring frequent vaccination after the initial series of 2 vaccines are given.
- Because the vaccination initially requires a series of two visits and a blood test, it can be costly. To help reduce call charge expenses, please feel free to bring horses to office.
- Due to concerns about reactions, we will not administer the Lyme vaccine at the same time as other vaccinations. Ideal times to vaccine are in February and August, prior to peak Lyme transmission times. There is currently no equine vaccination for Lyme disease and we are utilizing a canine vaccination off label owners will be asked to sign a waiver to this effect.
If a horse turns up positive on the stall side test , we would not recommend vaccination at this time. If you are interested we can utilize further blood testing to see whether the exposure is of great enough concern to consider treatment. We are NOT recommending treatment for horses who are not showing clinical signs.
The Horse article on Lyme in horses:
Side Effects Of Dog Vaccinations
If youre hesitant about getting your dog vaccinated, its probably because you’re worried that he might have a bad reaction.
But according to Dr. Lyon, hes likely to only see super mild effects that come from stimulating your immune system if any.
These include things like:
Those just normal effects of immunostimulation, Dr. Lyon said. Thats different from a true hypersensitivity reaction.
Hypersensitivity or allergic reactions are far less common, but can happen very occasionally.
If your dog is having a more severe reaction, it could include things like:
- Swollen face
- Tumor formation at the injection site
While those things sound scary, its important to remember they are much, much less common.
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Lyme Disease From Adult Ticks
Adult ticks will seek new hosts throughout the fall. Their peak activity between late October and early November.
Adults prefer taller vegetation. Theyre usually seen 3 off the ground on high grasses or leaves. Adults often use deer as hosts but theyre also happy with humans, dogs or horses.
Its believed that 50% of adult ticks carry Lyme disease in endemic areas of the Northeast.
While adult ticks can carry Lyme disease, theyre less likely to pass it on to their host.
This is because theyre larger and easier to detect within the first 24 to 36 hours.
Note: the timing of peak activity for each life stage of the tick may differ depending on the area you live. Check with local health departments for peak tick activity where you live.