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Is There A Lyme Disease Vaccine For Dogs

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Why Are Physical Examinations Important

Dogs can get a Lyme disease vaccine. Why cant humans?

Dogs dont always show outward signs when they are ill. In many cases, a thorough physical examination may be the best way to identify changes that occur with illness. Earlier diagnosis of a disease can often lead to more effective treatment and improve the prognosis for your pet. Regular physical examinations are therefore essential to maintaining your dogs health. A thorough examination checks every major body organ and system:

During a routine examination, your veterinarian may also want to check your pets blood, urine, and feces to obtain additional information about your pets health and to help ensure that specific body systems are functioning properly.

During your pets examination, your veterinarian will ask you many questions about your pets diet, behavior, lifestyle, and health history since your last visit. The answers to these questions will help your veterinarian determine what preventive care recommendations he or she should make to help keep your pet healthy. Based on your pets age, lifestyle, and disease risk, your veterinarian may recommend vaccinations. In certain cases, a vaccine against Lyme disease may be recommended.

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease

The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short trees, especially cedar trees. Here they wait until their sensors detect an approaching animal on which to crawl or drop. Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.

“Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.”

How Effective Is The Lyme Disease Vaccine For Dogs

The Lyme vaccine for dogs isn’t 100 percent effective. However, Bailey notes that as a general rule, a dog that contracts the disease after being vaccinated will likely have less severe symptoms.

Breakthrough infections are only one reason to keep your dog monthly flea and tick preventiveseven if your dog has been vaccinated against Lyme disease. “Lyme Disease is one of the few tick-borne diseases that we have a vaccine for,” Bailey explains. “There are many others we don’t yet have a vaccine for, such as ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosis, that can be fatal. Moreover, these preventives also cover fleas, which are not only miserably uncomfortable for our pets, but can lead to skin problems and carry diseases, as well.”

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Does My Dog Need A Lyme Disease Vaccine

Unfortunately, the answer isnât straight forward. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine states that Lyme disease vaccines are not considered part of the core group of vaccines necessary for all dogs. Lyme disease vaccine is primarily recommended for dogs that live or frequently visit areas known for Lyme disease as well as for those living in areas with high potential for tick exposure.

Vaccinating for Lyme disease in sick dogs or those who have urinary protein issues is not recommended. Veterinarians and researchers also debate whether vaccinating a dog that already has Lyme disease is necessary. Some say it will help prevent the dog from becoming infected again, while others worry that the vaccine could cause a serious reaction, making the dog even sicker.

Lyme Disease From Tick Larvae

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Ticks arent born with Lyme Disease. They too get it from another living organism.

In the spring, ticks lay their eggs. By late summer the larvae hatch and are ready to feed. They wait on the ground for a small mammal or bird to arrive and brush up against it.

The larva will attach itself to the small animal and begin feeding over the next few days. If this animal has Lyme disease, the larva will carry the bacterium in its stomach. Mice and ground-feeding birds often serve as spirochete hosts. When the tick attaches to its next host, the bacterium transfers into the blood of the new host.

Larvae are very hard to detect as they are no larger than a period in a print magazine.

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How Is Lyme Disease Treated

Because the Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, it can be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic of choice is doxycycline, followed by amoxicillin, then azithromycin. Treatment lasts for 4 weeks. Occasionally, the initial infection will recur, or the pet will become re-infected by being bitten by another infected tick.

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.

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Vaccination And Disease Prevention

Several vaccines are available to help prevent disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease organism. An initial vaccination is followed by a booster vaccine 2 to 4 weeks later and annual boosters as long as the risk for disease exposure remains. Depending on your dogs age and other variables, your veterinarian may recommend testing your dog for Lyme disease before starting the vaccine series.

The Lyme vaccine is not necessarily recommended for all dogs. Ask your veterinarian about the risk of Lyme disease where you live and whether the Lyme vaccine is recommended for your dog.

There are currently no vaccines to protect dogs from other tick-borne diseases, such as ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. Appropriate tick control methods combined with periodic testing may be the best ways to help protect dogs from these diseases. Being tick savvy can also help protect your dog from Lyme disease exposure:

  • Check your dog frequently for ticks, and remove them promptly.
  • Use a reliable method of tick control .
  • If possible, avoid tall grass or wooded areas where ticks are likely to hide.
  • If you routinely take your dog camping or walking in wooded areas, ask your veterinarian about the best ways to control ticks.

This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.

Side Effects Of Lyme Disease Vaccine For Dogs

Dog dies just minutes after receiving vaccination for lyme disease

In recent years, there has been a variety of controversy around the topic of vaccines whether they are worth it or not. Turns out, this is not only a discussion around humans but for the dog community, as well.

Are you wondering whether or not it is a good idea to get your dog the Lyme disease vaccine? Thankfully, you can get questions answered right here at this blog. This article is going to dive into:

  • What a dog vaccine is and why it is recommended
  • The core vaccines the American Animal Hospital Associations Canine Task Force recommends getting
  • The factors that affect whether or not it is ideal to get a dog vaccinated
  • Potential dog Lyme vaccine side effects

After reviewing this information, it is recommended to reach out to your trusted veterinary professional and get their feedback and hear their expert opinion on whether or not your dog should be vaccinated.

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Where Does Lyme Disease Lurk

If youre here reading about the Lyme vaccine for dogs, you likely live in or frequently visit an endemic areaa geographic region where something tends to occur. While Lyme was once concentrated only in small pockets of the United States, its spreading further every year. If youre curious about how close you are to an endemic area, check the CDCs Lyme Maps.

In looking at the low incidence states, youd think Lyme is an issue only in the Northeast and portions of the upper midwest. However, dont be misled by those maps. In reality, however, climate change is fueling the spread. According to the CDCs Division of Vector-Born Disease, the recovery of white-tailed deer populations and milder winters, earlier springs, and longer, warmer summers mean blacklegged ticks are succeeding in new geographic areas.

Lyme Vaccine For Small Dogs: What To Know Before

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We get it. Everyones pretty tired of talking about vaccines, at least when it comes to COVID. But bear with us, because this discussion is important too. Its the story of our small dog Scout and the extreme pain and temporary lameness she suffered after her Lyme vaccination for dogs.

And were not alone in nursing our Havanese through an adverse vaccine reaction. So many other small dogs have suffered similar reactions from the Lyme vaccine. And last year, we learned, too late, that small dogs are more likely to have adverse vaccine reactions. Were pretty upset with ourselves for having gone ahead with Lyme vaccinations, when for years we resisted doing so even though we live in an area where disease-carrying ticks are common.

The Lyme vaccine for dogs is actually pretty controversial, with few veterinarians recommending it wholeheartedly.

Dont make the mistake we did. We assumed this long-time vaccine was now widely accepted and that giving it was the right thing to do.

Were not saying dont vaccinate for Lyme. We are saying know the many downsides, give the vaccine only if you absolutely must, and be prepared to support your dog if she experiences an adverse reaction.

Before we delve into the side effects of Lyme vaccine for small dogs, lets talk briefly about the disease itself.

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How To Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs

PetMD is one of the largest and most used veterinary sites in the world. It discusses how to prevent Lyme disease by using toxic sprays and chemicals, as well as vaccines. Most conventional vets also advocate this approach.

But if Lyme progresses into more than flu-like symptoms only when cofactors are present then isnt stressing the immune system backwards thinking? And dangerous for our dogs?

You know that Lyme disease only progresses to a harmful stage if dogs arent healthy, right? So how do vaccines and chemicals make dogs healthier?

Lets look at the list of cofactors again but this time lets consider the role of vaccines

  • Chronic inflammation vaccines are well known to cause chronic inflammation and auto-immune disease
  • Immune suppression we know vaccines to suppress the immune system after administration
  • Coinfections of other viruses well, thats what they designed vaccines o do deliver a small amount of virus into the body
  • Heavy metals and toxins vaccines contain aluminum, thimerosal, formaldehyde and other dangerous toxins

Not to mention the side effects of conventional solutions such as

So how do you prevent Lyme diease in your dog?

If there is one thing you should take away today its this

the more toxic your dog is, the more likely he is to suffer an exaggerated response to Lyme disease.

Here are some tips to help bolster your dogs immune system:

To Vaccinate Or Not Vaccinate

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When deciding on whether to get the vaccine or not, there are different perspectives to consider. While there are potential risks, these are quite rare.

If you live near a forest where ticks are prevalent, you may want to err on the side of caution and take your dog in to be vaccinated. When it comes to Lyme disease, or any other health condition for that matter, you want to protect your pup as well as possible so they dont contract any diseases that could have been prevented.

For further questions on whether you should vaccinate your dog, contact your trusted veterinarian for more guidance.


The Lyme Vaccine For Dogs: 3 Top Reasons To Avoid It. Dogs Naturally Magazine, 25 June 2018, Accessed 9 Dec 2018.

Dog Vaccinations. Harlingen Veterinary Clinic, 16 May 2017, Accessed 9 Dec 2018.

AAHA Canine Vaccination Task Force. AAHA, Accessed 9 Dec 2018.

Elliott, Pippa. Canine Lyme Vaccine Side Effects. LoveToKnow, Accessed 9 Dec 2018.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Dogs can display several forms of Lyme disease, but the most common symptoms are lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue, and loss of appetite. In addition, serious kidney complications have been associated with Lyme disease in dogs.

Clinical signs of Lyme disease in horses include shifting-leg lameness, generalized stiffness, hypersensitivity to touch, weight loss, and poor performance. Sometimes, the bacteria can infect the central nervous system, leading to neurologic symptoms.

More Than Mere Side Effects

I mentally berated myself. I may also have mentally berated my beloved vet. Why didnt I know this? Why hadnt I stayed longer to monitor Scout, and why didnt they send me home with a warning about the Lyme vaccine side effects? Here I was, a good thirty minutes away from veterinary care, with a suffering pup who literally couldnt walk. Theyd instructed me to go get baby aspirin, and that Scout should be better in an hour or two.

She wasnt.

For the next forty-eight hours, Scout endured significant pain. In the first twelve hours after the vaccine, she became unable to walk. That night, in the middle of the night, she woke in screaming agony.

The next morning, Scout still wasnt walking. I had to carry her outdoors to potty, and shed stand there trembling, looking at me in misery. Although I knew it was our vets surgery day, I

Well yes. Yes, I did think she needed it. Why would I allow her to continue with such obvious, severe pain?

By the end of the second day, Scout recovered fully from her Lyme vaccine side effects. But I havent. Im still taking myself to task for failing to protect her from unnecessary injury, no matter how temporary. Im all for short-term suffering when the payoff is good . But I am NOT okay with letting my pup suffer even momentarily for a vaccine that may or may not work.

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For Animals That Have Not Been Vaccinated Can Osp A Values Be Positive How Should This Be Interpreted

Antibodies to OspA have previously been interpreted as markers for vaccination. Non-vaccinated animals usually have low values for antibodies to OspA, while vaccinated animals develop these antibodies. OspA antibodies have been shown to protect from infection with B. burgdorferi.

However, there is accumulating evidence that antibodies to OspA can occur without vaccination. First, residual OspA is present on the bacterial surface at the time of transmission to an animal. This causes a low and transient OspA antibody response early after infection. Second, antibodies to OspA have also been associated with treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis and with development of autoimmunity in human patients. Similarly, OspA antibodies in non-vaccinated dogs or horses can be considered as markers of chronicity and disease severity.

How To Protect Your Dog From Leptospirosis

Recent Spike In Lyme Cases Has Pet Owners Turning To Vaccines

The best choice to prevent leptospirosis is to vaccinate your dog. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian about the benefits and risks for your dog.

When you travel, go on hikes, or camp, bring your own water and bowl for your dog. Be mindful and avoid letting your dog drink from lakes, rivers, and other natural water sources.

Minimize wildlife activity in your area by removing waste that might attract wildlife.

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Companion Animal Parasite Council Map

The Companion Animal Parasite Council provides a much clearer picture regarding the risk your small dog runs of contracting Lyme disease in areas where you live or visit. The council harnesses experts in parasitology, internal medicine, public health, veterinary law, private practice, and association leadership.

Were grateful for their work in defining the problem, although we would disagree with some of their encouragement regarding use of broad-spectrum pesticides.

Can My Animal Get Infected Despite Being Vaccinated

Yes. Some animals have been infected despite vaccination. The most common reasons are low or short-lasting vaccine antibodies in the individual animal. It is advisable to monitor the vaccine response annually to ensure the animal develops sufficient antibodies in response to vaccination. Vaccine antibodies can be quantified with the Lyme Multiplex assay as early as two weeks following vaccination or anytime afterwards.

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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

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