Risk Of Bias Across Studies
A funnel plot was generated for the lameness outcome only. Publication bias could not be assessed for the remaining critical outcomes because there were 7 or fewer trials in each respective metaanalysis. Based on the funnel plot for the lameness outcome, publication bias was possible because the lower left corner of the funnel contained no studies .7). However, it should be noted that sample sizes were small, with more than half of trials having 10 dogs or less per treatment group.
Funnel plot of the metaanalysis of published studies for the lameness outcome in experimental studies. Each plotted point represents the standard error and log odds ratio for unique cases of lameness in dogs vaccinated for Lyme disease compared to control dogs. The white triangle represents the region where 95% of the data points would lie in the absence of a publication bias
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Should You Get The Lyme Vaccine For Your Dog
I cant tell you what to do although there are a lot of folks who try to
If you visit the Pets & Parasites website, theyll do their best to scare you about the prospects of your dog getting Lyme disease.
Yet, how can Lyme disease be that scary when most dogs will never get sick? Even when they test positive for Lyme.
Why all the fuss about Lyme if it doesnt really affect dogs? Companion Animal Parasite Council publishes The Pets & Parasites website. And this council is sponsored by companies who make tick products they want you to buy.
You might think Im biased when it comes to vaccines and that would be true but Im nowhere near as biased as the huge corporations that make billions of dollars off dogs and cats each year! And dont think theyll share my little secret that 95% of dogs with Lyme disease will NEVER develop any symptoms theres no money in that message.
But they will try to scare you and your vet every year, so youll run out and get their spot ons and vaccines.
But now I hope you know better than to get caught up in the propaganda.
So, will you vaccinate your dog for Lyme this year?
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Disease Of Low Clinical Significance
The vast majority of dogs appear to exhibit a kind of natural immunity to Lyme borreliosis roughly 95% of dogs remain asymptomatic following exposure to a tick infected with B. burgdorferi . Although there are reports of potentially fatal cardiac and renal sequelae associated with B. burgdorferi in the literature , these syndromes appear to be exceedingly rare. Furthermore, these purported syndromes are challenging to conclusively link with Lyme borreliosis for that same reason , as well as a lack of disease model, with no gold standard test to differentiate between clinical and incidental infections . It seems fair to say, then, that Lyme borreliosis meets the first criterion of AAHA of being a disease of low clinical significance.
Bordetella And Canine Parainfluenza
Bordetella and canine parainfluenza virus are two agents associated with a highly contagious cough commonly known as kennel cough, or canine infectious respiratory disease complex .
Diseases from these agents typically resolve on their own but sometimes can lead to pneumonia or more severe respiratory disease. Because Bordetella is so contagious, boarding and doggy day care facilities across the U.S. require your pet to have this vaccine.
Parainfluenza may or may not be included in a combination vaccine with Bordetella or the DAP.
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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 Vaccine For Dogs: Side Effects
Vaccinations trigger a response from the immune system. Therefore, mild side effects are normal and expected. Expected effects may include a mild fever, lethargy, soreness at the site of the vaccine, and decreased appetite. Just like when you get a flu shot, your dogs response to a vaccine may result in mild, short-lived signs of illness.
Occasionally, more serious reactions occur. Although severe vaccine reactions are rare, they require quick action. These reactions indicate an allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine.
Signs of an allergic reaction to Lyme vaccination include:
|Merial Animal Health||Recombitek® Lyme|
While there are slight differences in how these vaccines are produced and their mechanisms of action, all five are comparable in safety and efficacy.
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Otc Vs Prescription Flea And Tick Medicine
So, what constitutes good tick control? A product recommended by your vet, says Dr. Mengel, who also practices at the University of Pennsylvanias M. J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital.
Many flea and tick preventatives require a prescription, so vets can make sure your dog is getting the right medication and dosage, she adds.
While some over-the-counter dog flea and tick treatment products work well, tell your pets providers what you use so they can ensure it is an appropriate choice.
No matter what type of preventative flea and tick medicine for dogs you choose, whats very important is that it is used year-round when Lyme disease is a concern.
Deer ticks can remain active through the winter months, so it very important to keep your pet protected all year.
Also, dont be surprised if you still see a tick on your furry friend even with protection. Some products cant repel every single tick but still do kill the bugs before they have a chance to infect your dog.
If, however, you are finding significant numbers of live, attached ticks on your dog, talk to your veterinarian about more aggressive tick control methods.
Can Pets Have Adverse Reactions To Vaccines
Dogs can have adverse reactions to canine vaccinations, medications, and even natural vitamins/supplements. These incidents are rare, but because they do occur, it is important to monitor your pet after their vaccine appointment.
It is common for animal vaccines to cause mild reactions, including discomfort or swelling at the injection site. Dogs may also develop a mild fever or have decreased energy and appetite for the day. If any of these signs persist for longer than 24 hours, contact your veterinarian.
More serious side effects can occur within minutes to hours of the vaccination. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pet develops vomiting and diarrhea, swelling of the muzzle around the face or neck, coughing or difficulty breathing, or itchy skin with hives.
These reactions are much less common, but can be life-threatening. Before your veterinarian administers any animal vaccines, alert them if your pet has had a reaction in the past.
Recommended Reading: Lyme Disease And Co Infections
Facts On Human Vaccination
There is a race to bring a new human Lyme disease vaccine to market, with some vaccines already in advanced stages of development.4, 5 A previous Lyme disease vaccine for humans had been approved for use in the U.S., but was removed from the market. The observation that this vaccine was unsuccessful due to lack of sales is often misused as an argument against canine Lyme disease vaccination.
The University of Pennsylvanias world renowned vaccinologist, Stanley Plotkin, described the human vaccine situation in 2011: A vaccine against Lyme disease was licensed in the United States in 1998 but was subsequently removed from the market because of lack of sales. I believe that the poor acceptance of the vaccine was based on tepid recommendations by the CDC, undocumented and probably nonexistent safety issues, and insufficient education of physiciansThe fact that there is no vaccine for an infection causing 20,000 annual cases is an egregious failure of public health.6
What Vaccines Does My Dog Really Need
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the veterinary profession in ways none of us predicted. Not only were pet owners forced to comply with the awkwardness of curb-side medicine, but the shelter-in-place mandates detonated an explosion of pent-up demand for new puppies. Now dont get me wronghaving a clinic schedule full of adorable baby dogs certainly contributed to a bump in job satisfaction for my co-workers. We stocked the refrigerator with vaccines in response to the puppy boom, hoping to meet demand as the rest of our inventory slipped into perpetual backorder.
Veterinary medicine has stayed mostly immune to the vaccine skepticism thats bubbled up during the pandemic. However, these initial puppy vet visits now certainly involve a more thorough explanation as to whats necessary and why.
Perhaps the best way to break down vaccines is to lump them into two main categories: optional and mandatory. For the optional group, consider your dogs risk for infection and your comfort level with potential side effects. The latter category contains vaccines that you should view as non-negotiables. This set of immunizations prevents diseases that carry significant health risks to your dog or humans. Since I cant understate their importance, lets dive into the details of this group first.
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Your Vet Is Your Best Ally For Preventing Lyme Disease In Your Dog
One thing all vets agree upon is this: the best protection against tick-borne disease is not vaccination but diligent tick control. As we discussed in Part I of this blog series, ticks often carry more than one disease, and vaccines do not exist against most of them.I encourage you to talk to your veterinarian about your dogs Lyme risk. I would never want recommend something different than what he or she believes to be best for your dog. But if hasnt already been resolved, this question needs to be addressed at your dogs next wellness visit:
Does my dog need a Lyme vaccine?
Lyme vaccine is considered a non-core vaccination. This means that its not recommended for all dogs, unlike the core vaccines which protect against common diseases like parvo, distemper, and rabies.
If you live in an apartment in New York City, and your dog goes out to the curb to the bathroom and back in, Im not going to recommend a Lyme vaccine for your dog. Even a dog that lives in suburban America, but spends time exclusively on a well-manicured lawn, may not need the vaccine.
Related podcast: Dog Vaccinations: Everything You Want to Know.
Vaccinating Dogs Against Lyme Disease: Two Points Of View
Meryl P. Littman
Dr. Littman is a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Her research includes canine tick-borne diseases. She received her VMD from University of Pennsylvania.
Richard E. Goldstein
DVM, DACVIM, DECVIM
Dr. Goldstein is chief medical officer at The Animal Medical Center in NYC. His research includes canine Lyme disease and leptospirosis. He received his DVM from Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
Despite availability of a consensus statement and up-to-date canine vaccination guidelines , the decision whether or not to vaccinate dogs against Lyme disease remains an ongoing debate among many veterinary professionals.
2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines.JAAHA.
ACVIM Small Animal Consensus Statement on Lyme Disease in Dogs: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention. Littman MP, Goldstein RE, Labato MA, et al. J Vet Intern Med. 2006 20:422-434. Available at cvm.ncsu.edu/vhc/documents/LymeconsstmtACVIM.pdf.
Todays Veterinary Practice has gathered 3 experts to discuss this topicDr. Meryl Littman and Dr. Richard Goldstein evaluate the benefits and risks of vaccination, while Dr. Richard Ford outlines the current vaccination recommendations.
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Which Dog Vaccines Are Necessary
There arent many topics that are more polarizing than vaccines for your dog.
Its important to understand the difference between so-called Core and Non-Core vaccines for your dog, and what those terms mean.
Do you sometimes wonder, How often do I need to vaccinate my dog? Or which dog vaccines are necessary and which are not? And whats required by law?
It can get confusing. And a lot of veterinarians give misleading information to get you to keep vaccinating your dog regularly.
So we want to fill in the blanks and give you the information you need to make the best decision for your dog.
Then, when you get that card in the mail from your vet reminding you that your dogs due for his annual physical exam and vaccinations, youll be prepared, knowing what your dog does and doesnt need to remain protected from disease and stay out of trouble with the law!
How Do I Remove A Tick From My Dog
Check your pet immediately after it has been in a tick-infected area. The deer tick is a small tick and only about pinhead size in juvenile stage, but is a little more obvious in the adult phase and after feeding. If you find a tick moving on your pet, the tick has not fed. Remove the tick promptly and place it in rubbing alcohol or crush it between two solid surfaces. If you find a tick attached to your pet, grasp the tick with fine tweezers or your finger nails near the dog’s skin and firmly pull it straight out. There are also tools available called Tick Twister® or Tick Key® which can be useful. However, take care to use them cautiously as twisting or jerking the tick may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. See your veterinarian if you are unsure or unable to remove the tick from your dog.
Make sure you protect your fingers from exposure by using a tissue or a disposable glove.You may need another person to help restrain your dog. Removing the tick quickly is important since the disease does not appear to be transmitted until the tick has fed for approximately 12 hours. If you crush the tick, do not get the tick’s contents, including blood, on your skin.
Note: The bacterium that causes Lyme disease can pass through a wound or cut in your skin.
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Lyme Vaccine Schedule For Dogs
According to American Animal Hospital Association guidelines, two initial doses are given 2 to 4 weeks apart and the first dose can be given as early as 8 or 9 weeks of age. If the dog remains at risk of exposure, they should be given a single dose one year after completing the initial two-dose series and then annually thereafter.
If your veterinarian recommends vaccinating your dog before traveling from a low-risk to a high-risk area, your dog will get the same two initial doses 2 to 4 weeks apart. The second dose should be given 2 to 4 weeks before your trip.
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterial infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, primarily, and sometimes Borrelia mayonii. The Merck Veterinary Manual says that in the United States, these spiral-shaped bacteria are most often transmitted to dogs through the saliva of deer ticks , also called black-legged ticks, in the Northeast and upper Midwest. The western black-legged tick is the primary type of tick that transmits Lyme on the West Coast.
Merck explains that dogs infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs of illness but can experience symptoms like:
Noncore vaccines are recommended based on a dog’s exposure risk due to their geographic location and lifestyle.
The Lyme vaccine belongs to the latter category, and with infections on the rise across the U.S. , this noncore vaccine is an important consideration for every dog owner. “Because this disease is spread by ticks, dogs that encounter these insects are the most likely to contract the disease,” explains Laura Bailey, DVM, co-owner of Bridges Professional Park Animal Hospital in Morehead City, N.C. “For this reason, farm dogs, hunting dogs, and dogs who go with their owners on hikes are the obvious candidates for this vaccine.” However, she adds that dogs can encounter tick-transmitted diseases in their own backyard or on a walk through the neighborhooda reality that is especially true in areas where Lyme is endemic, like the Northeastern region of the U.S.
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Your Veterinarian Will Decide If The Lyme Vaccine Is Right For Your Dog
Your veterinarian is your best resource for deciding if your dog is a good candidate for the Lyme vaccination for dogs. So, before you sign your pup up for this yearly shot, talk with your vet about your pets lifestyle and risk level for Lyme disease.
Pets whove been treated for Lyme disease in dogs should probably get the vaccine, but not if the disease caused kidney damage, says Dr. Brevitz. The vet will check the dogs urine to see if there are excessive amounts of protein before giving the vaccine.
If there are abnormal amounts that are thought to be caused by Lyme disease, your pup should skip the vaccine to theoretically prevent more kidney damage from occurring.
Most dogs wont have side effects with this shot, and if they do, they are mild ones, like feeling tired or sore at the site of the injection, says Dr. Mengel. But, if your dog has a history of severe reactions, bring it up with your vet.