What Are The Clinical Signs Of Lyme Disease
Some people with Lyme disease develop a characteristic bull’s-eye rash at the site of the bite within three to thirty days. If this occurs, the disease can be easily diagnosed at an early stage.
However, signs of Lyme disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people. The characteristic rash does not develop in dogs or cats. In fact, Lyme disease is practically unheard of in cats.
“Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells.”
Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells. Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.
Some pets are infected with the Lyme disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be widespread throughout the body. Non-specific signs which may indicate that Lyme disease is affecting the kidneys include vomiting, lethargy, anorexia , and weight loss. The kidney form of the disease is less common, but often fatal.
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.
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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Video Answer: How To Give Intranasal Canine Kennel
The Lyme vaccine for dogs works in a similar manner to LYMErix.
But while it does help control the spread of the disease, it doesn’t make up for the lack of a vaccine in humans.
In laboratory studies, dogs injected with the vaccine and later injected with active bacteria were found to be far less likely than unvaccinated dogs to develop lameness, fever, anorexia or other symptoms of Lyme disease.
No serious side effects were noted in these studies.
In endemic regions, Lyme disease positive dogs with clinical signs should be vaccinated when risk of reinfection is high, and should receive antibiotic therapy, prior to or immediately following vaccination. Lyme disease vaccination should be performed annually, with the currently available vaccines.
No Requirement To Report
Though I do blame myself for failing to know all potential risks from the Lyme vaccine for dogs, I also believe much of the drug and veterinary industry bears blame for sweeping those risks under the rug. Youll be shocked to learn they really dont care about tracking adverse side effects. Vets can report vaccine reactions. Theyre allegedly strongly encouraged to do so. But if thats the case, why does the American Animal Hospital Association report that few do so? Strong encouragement should result in measurable response. And yet, vaccine reaction reporting is dead on arrival. As a result, we have no idea how widespread or severe these vaccination reactions are, especially with our small dogs. As noted above, they apparently tend to react more frequently and with greater severity.
Wheres the lobby demanding better vaccine testing and tracking for animals? At least one major veterinary school recognizes the pressing need for additional research with respect to all animal vaccines. Lets work to get there in the coming few years.
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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.
Why Is More Than One Dose Of Vaccine Given To Pups
There are two reasons. First, without complicated testing it is impossible to know when a pup has lost the passive protection it gets from its mother. An early decline in a puppy’s maternal antibody can leave it susceptible to infection at a very young age. A strong maternal immunity can actually interfere with early vaccination . Second, particularly with killed vaccines, the first dose is a priming dose, and the second dose boosts the response to a higher, longer-lasting level of immunity.
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Do Vaccines Provide 100% Protection
Vaccines have been highly successful in protecting the majority of dogs against disease. As a direct result of vaccination, previously common diseases such as distemper are now rare. But there are situations in which the dogs immunity may be overcome and a vaccinated dog may still develop disease. In such cases the disease is generally milder than it would have been had the dog not been vaccinated.
Some causes for apparent vaccine failure are:
Maternally derived antibodies. As mentioned above, when a puppy is born and after it suckles its mother, it acquires a proportion of antibodies from the mother. A well-vaccinated female will transfer antibodies to her puppies for the diseases she has been vaccinated against, as well as any others she has acquired naturally. Such antibodies protect the pup against those diseases for the first two or three months of its life, the most critical time. However, during this same period, the maternally derived antibodies can block the pup’s ability to respond to vaccination.
“Maternal antibody interference has been a particular problem with canine parvovirus vaccination.”
Incomplete immune response. There is variation between dogs’ immune systems. Some respond less well to vaccination, so immunity may be incomplete or shorter-lived than normal. Certain breeds and genetic lines have a tendency for such problems.
|Contributors: Rania Gollakner, BS DVM, MPH Ernest Ward, DVM|
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.
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The Vaccine Was Pulled From The Market Despite Evidence Finding It Was Safe
But it was too late. Already, there was significant media coverage, sensationalism, the development of anti-Lyme vaccine groups … who urged withdrawal of the vaccine from the market, Poland explained in his 2011 article. A class-action lawsuit targeted SmithKline Beecham, claiming the company did not do enough to warn people of potential autoimmune side effects.
The FDA continued to follow up with an additional drug safety trial to try to settle the matter for the public. The trial was supposed to last four years. But sales of LYMErix had plummeted from about 1.5 million doses in 1999 to a projected 10,000 doses in 2002, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explains on its website.
Falling sales, combined with the mounting lawsuits from patients, led the manufacturer to pull it from the market, although early data from the additional safety trial found no differences in any significant adverse reactions noted between control subjects and vaccinated persons, Poland writes.
Concerning side effects sometimes do emerge after a drug comes on the market. But you need hard data to establish them. And the FDAs investigations into LYMErix never found any evidence of autoimmune side effects.
In the 2000s, Lyme still didnt infect that many people, and the public was more concerned about the Lyme vaccine than the disease itself. But now infections rates are rising and were left without a crucial tool to stop its spread.
Protection Against Lyme Disease Is Focused On Tick Control And Vaccination
Additional Cornell resources:
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by ticks, and it affects both dogs and humans. It is most common in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest, although the range has been increasing in North America. While ticks are often associated with warmer weather, they can be active year-round if the temperature is above 40°F.
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What To Do If A Tick Head Is Stuck In Your Pet
If you do spot a tick, dont be tempted to use tweezers ticks latch on tightly, and you can remove the ticks body but leave part of the mouth, causing irritation and infection. Instead, your vet can supply you with a specialist tick remover. If a tick is removed within 24 hours, infection can be prevented.
A Typical Puppy Vaccination Schedule:
- First vaccination: 6 to 8 weeks DHP
- Second vaccination: 9 to 11 weeks DHP
- Third vaccination: 12 to 15 weeks DHP
- Fourth vaccination: 16 to 20 weeks DHP
- Booster DHP: 1 year of age or 12 months after the last puppy shot, then as recommended
- Rabies vaccination: typically required by law at 3-6 months of age with a booster 12 months later, then a booster every 1-3 years.
- Bordetella, Parainfluenza, and Canine Influenza recommended for social dogs .
- Lyme or Leptospirosis: May be recommended by your veterinarian if you live in or travel with your dog to an area where these are endemic.
What shots do puppies need?
Core puppy shots/vaccinations include DHP/DAP and Rabies while non-core vaccinations include Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Canine Influenza and Lyme Disease.
How often do puppies need shots?
How often your puppy needs shots will depend on the advice of your veterinarian. A typical puppy vaccination schedule is their first vaccination at 6-8 weeks for DHP. Second vaccine at 9-11 weeks for DHP. Third vaccine at 12-15 weeks for DHP. Fourth vaccine at 16-20 weeks for DHP. Booster for DHP at one year then as recommended. Rabies vaccine at 3-6 months with a booster after a year then every one to three years. Bordetella/Parainfluenza and Canine Influenza for social dogs.
At what age do puppies get shots?
The age your puppy gets shots will depend on the advice of your veterinarian. A vaccination schedule can start as early as 6-8 weeks of age.
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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.
How Often Does Your Dog Need A Bordetella Vaccine
According to Dr. Schwartz, the Bordetella vaccine for dogs consists of an initial vaccination as well as a booster to be administered every six months if needed.
As far as any additional boosters, thats something to discuss with your vet, since it depends on how often your dog might be exposed to Bordetella.
I think they still recommend that you do it every six months if your dog is a frequent flyer at boarding situations or dog groups, Dr. Schwartz said. It depends on the recommendations of the veterinarian in the area.
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Does Treatment Immediately After A Tick Bite Negate Signs Of Early Infection
Not every tick carries B. burgdorferi. The infection rate of ticks also varies with geographic region. Therefore, treatment should not be performed based on a tick bite alone. If the tick was found on the animal it can be sent in for B. burgdorferi PCR. PCR for Anaplasma can be performed simultaneously if requested. If the tick was infected, early treatment can be considered. However, a tick must feed for at least 24 hours on an animal or human for B. burgdorferi transmission to occur. Only a serological test will confirm whether transmission of B. burgdorferi occurred and the animal was infected. Antibodies can be detected in infected animals as early as 3-4 weeks after infection. Lyme Multiplex testing is recommended after that time. Treatment can be initiated immediately afterwards if antibody levels are positive. Treatment during this early infection phase is generally very effective.
Dogs Can Develop A Life
A small percentage of dogs who test positive for Lyme go on to develop a condition called Lyme nephritis. The suffix itis means inflammation. Think tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and bursitis. In this case, the nephron refers to the functional unit of the kidney, so we put that all together and see that nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys.
However, this is a unique kind of kidney insult that we believe is related to the way the immune system fights the disease, which causes damage in the kidneys. The prognosis for these dogs is sadly not good. The majority are euthanized because they go into sudden, progressive, renal failure. This is most commonly seen in Labrador and Golden Retrievers, but we do not know if this is a true breed-specific statistic or if its just that those are the most popular breeds of dogs living at-risk lifestyles and, therefore, are overrepresented.
Even if classic Lyme nephritis is not diagnosed, one research study reported that dogs who tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi exposure had a 43% increased risk of later developing some form of chronic kidney disease later in life. This is an intimidating statistic that should motivate any dog owner to take tick control seriously and vaccinate for Lyme disease for dogs who are at-risk. Its also why, as a veterinarian, I closely monitor a Lyme positive dogs urine for protein on an ongoing basis.
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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