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.
Overdue For Core Vaccines
1. How many doses of vaccine should be given to a dog presented for their initial vaccine series if the patient is older than 16 weeks of age?
Two sequential doses, administered 2 to 4 wk apart, are conventionally recommended. Doing so is essential when initially administering a killed vaccine. Rabies is the exception to this rule .
Among dogs 16 wk of age and older, administration of a single dose of a core vaccine is likely to immunize. However, given that a small number of dogs at 16 wks of age may still have interfering levels of maternally derived antibody, administering 2 doses, 2 to 4 wk apart, is a reasonable recommendation.
Risk Of Bias Within Studies
Results for the risk of bias among experimental studies are presented in Figure . Although the risk of bias assessment was performed at the outcome level for each trial , the results are presented at the publication level for ease of interpretation, because the results did not differ between outcomes and trials. None of the challenge trials indicated that methods were used to ensure allocation concealment or blinding of personnel. Although many experimental studies were classified as a low risk of bias for random sequence generation because they stated that dogs were randomly assigned to an intervention group, only 1 study specified the actual method used to randomly assign dogs to an intervention group.
Risk of bias assessment for challenge trials included in a systematic review of the efficacy of the canine Borrelia burgdorferi vaccine. + indicates low risk of bias, indicates high risk of bias, and ? indicates unclear risk of bias
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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
Does Your Dog Need A Lyme Vaccine
Reviewed for accuracy on May 8, 2019 by Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM
There are two kinds of dog vaccinescore vaccinations and noncore.
Core vaccinations, like rabies and distemper, are required to keep your dog protected from some serious and potentially lethal diseases.
Noncore, or lifestyle vaccines, may be recommended by a veterinarian based on your dogs individual lifestyle or health status.
One of these so-called noncore vaccinations is the Lyme vaccine for dogs.
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Is Lyme Disease Vaccine Safe
In the prelicensure efficacy study , LYMErix recipients had more frequent reports at the injection sites than placebo recipients of soreness , erythema and swelling . Systemic adverse events were less commonly reported, and they were more common after the use of LYMErix than placebo . Adverse events usually were reported in the first 48 h after immunization, and lasted a median of three days.
Lyme Vaccination Schedule For Dogs
An initial Lyme vaccine can be given as early as 8-9 weeks of age . After the initial vaccine, a booster vaccine must be given 3-4 weeks later. The dog is considered to be protected against Lyme disease four weeks after receiving the second Lyme vaccination.
For long-term protection, the Lyme vaccine must be repeated once annually for the remainder of your dogs life. If your dog is significantly overdue for its annual booster, your veterinarian may recommend restarting the initial two-vaccine series.
|First Lyme Vaccine|
|Once annually thereafter|
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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, youll see some pretty scary things like this
The folks at Pets & Parasites arent the most creative bunch, because here was their 2017 forecast
And their 2016 forecast
Pets & Parasites deliver the same message every year and just change the date. 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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Lymerix Debuted Near The Beginning Of Anti
LYMErix had the misfortune of being approved the same year some people were becoming suspicious of vaccines in the United States. In 1998, the journal Lancet published a now-retracted study that claimed the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine was linked to autism, and the modern anti-vax movement was born.
At the same time, a few members of the FDA panel that approved LYMErix had voiced a theoretical concern that the drug could cause an autoimmune reaction leading to arthritis. The idea was that as the immune system learned to attack the protein that covered the Lyme bacteria, it could overreact and start to attack healthy tissue in the body. This side effect didnt occur in the clinical trial. It was listed as a hypothetical possibility.
The FDA panel eventually unanimously approved the drug, but the fear of an autoimmune reaction trickled down to the public.
What happened next was a perfect storm to drive the product from the market. A 2000 study found the vaccine contributed to autoimmune arthritis in hamsters. Other research posited that it was possible some people were more genetically predisposed to develop this type of autoimmune response in reaction to the vaccine.
The FDA looked into the claims but never found a connection between the vaccine and arthritis. By 2001, 1.4 million doses of the vaccine had been distributed, but the FDAs Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System only picked up on 59 reports of arthritis.
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The Lepto Vaccine: Why Vets Give It Yearly
Leptospirosis is feared by many veterinarians because it can cause severe kidney or liver disease in its pet victims. Its double feared because its a zoonotic disease in other words, you can get it too.
Many vets use this fact to justify the administration of this supposedly protective vaccine. But a good vaccine should be both safe and effective. Lets examine whether or not the yearly lepto vaccination is either.
Jumpstart Your Puppys Immune System
In their first year of life, puppies will need to visit their veterinarian numerous times to get vaccinated for and become immunized against potentially fatal, yet preventable infectious diseases. The worst of these are Distemper and Parvo.
The timing and interval between booster vaccinations is critical to ensure your puppy is protected, as their mothers antibodies can interfere with a vaccinations ability to mount your puppys own immune response. Thus, puppies need a series of vaccinations to allow their immune system to break through waning maternal antibody.
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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
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?
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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.
What Are The Core Dog Vaccinations
Core puppy vaccinations and dog vaccinations are considered vital to all canines based on a universal risk of exposure, the severity of disease, and the risk of transmission to other dogs, as well as other animal species including human beings.
The American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force considers the following dog vaccinations to be core:
- Canine Parvovirus
- Lyme vaccine
Although these vaccines are not considered Core, they are very important for most dogs who may be exposed to these infectious diseases. At your dog’s next appointment, we will be happy to review which of the above make the most sense for your dog and make the appropriate recommendations.
Rabies vaccinations are required by law in most states, including NJ. Owners must periodically have their dogs and puppies vaccinated against rabies, but the specific time frames for puppy vaccinations and dog vaccinations vary by state. In NJ, puppy rabies vaccine is generally given at 12 weeks and the rabies vaccination is good for one year. For adult dogs, the rabies vaccination is good for three years and should be addressed at the time of the first visit for new patients. For example, a puppy would receive the rabies vaccine at 12 weeks, 1 year and then again at age 4.
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Dogs That Stay Mostly Indoors Can Get Ticks And Lyme Disease
Dont brush off flea and tick prevention just because your dog sticks around the house, either. Many of us have diagnosed clinical infection of Lyme disease in dogs that only go outside to potty and spend the rest of the time indoors. Ticks can hitch a ride into the house on humans and other pets, says Dr. Mengel.
When To Start Puppy Vaccinations
In general, a puppy should start vaccines as soon as you get the puppy and then every three weeks until approximately four months of age when it will receive the final round. Generally, if the puppy’s mother has a healthy immune system, it will most likely receive antibodies in the mother’s milk while nursing. After a puppy has been weaned off of the mother’s milk, vaccinations should begin.
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How Long Does It Take A Vaccine To Produce Immunity
Within a few hours of vaccination, the earliest phases of the immune response are being stimulated. It usually requires ten to fourteen days before a reasonable level of protection is established. Killed vaccines may not provide adequate protection until after the second dose. In young puppies, maternal antibodies may hinder protection until later in the vaccine series.
Therefore, it is advisable to keep even a vaccinated pup away from dogs or pups of unknown vaccination history until it has finished its vaccination course.
The Lyme Vaccine Was Effective
Lyme first appeared in the US seemingly out of nowhere, spreading between ticks and people in Connecticut.
By the 1990s, it was possible to be infected with Lyme from a tick bite in much of the northeastern US, and there were around 15,000 confirmed cases a year.
Recognizing the increasing public health hazard, the drug manufacturer SmithKline Beecham developed a vaccine that targeted the outer protein of the bacteria that causes Lyme. The Food and Drug Administration approved it in 1998.
The vaccine worked by targeting the bacteria while it was still inside the ticks body, the website History of Vaccines explains. The bacteria would be neutralized before the tick had the chance to transfer the bacteria into the human body.
LYMErix wasnt a perfect vaccine, as Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic vaccine researcher, explained in a 2011 retrospective in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
It required three doses over the course of a year and was not approved for people under age 15. It was optional, and doctors had a hard time assessing whom to recommend it to . And the vaccine only protected against the North American strain of Lyme.
Also, because Lyme is not spread human to human but from tick to human, it has limited power to stop the spread of Lyme disease-carrying ticks. Finally, it was somewhat expensive at $50 a dose, and it was not universally covered by health insurance.
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Combating Concerns About Vaccination
There are still some who believe that Lyme disease is not a disease worth vaccinating against or the vaccine causes more harm than good. This is despite the:
- Extremely large number of clinical Lyme disease cases and nonclinical Lyme infections seen in small animal practice in endemic areas in the U.S., including the often fatal syndrome of Lyme nephritis
- Millions of dogs that receive Lyme disease vaccines annually with no data to suggest any resulting harm from the vaccine.
Four Safe & Effective Vaccines
Compared to humans, dogs are lucky. There are currently 4 extremely safe, effective, and reliable vaccines7-9 on the market that have all been through the United States Drug Administration licensing requirements for safety, efficacy, purity, and potency.
All available canine Lyme disease vaccines produce borreliacidal antibodies in the dog in response to vaccinal outer surface protein A . These antibodies work in the ticks gut to bind the bacteria during the blood meal, sterilizing the gut of the tick and preventing transmission of bacteria into the dog.
OspC is the main immunogenic protein exhibited by Borrelia in the ticks salivary glands and in the dogs body during natural infection. Three of the current Lyme disease vaccines contain 2 strains of inactivated Borrelia isolates1 OspA producing strain and 1 unique OspC producing strain, which perhaps adds an additional layer of protection.
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