Dog Lyme Disease Vaccination

Dog Lyme disease can lead to significant problems in dogs, affecting the heart, kidneys, joints, and sometimes causing neurological disorders. Diagnosis can be tricky since symptoms resemble those of many other infections and disease, and testing for dog Lyme disease must include blood tests and evaluations. Previously vaccinated dogs will test positive for the disease because of exposure to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. While vaccination can protect against some forms of this life-threatening disease, there are many considerations to research before making the decision to vaccinate your dog.

Lyme Disease

There is some controversy over the effects of dog Lyme disease. Many studies show that a certain percentage of dogs can contract this disease and either fight it off naturally, or never experience symptoms. Conflicting reports show 25% up to 90% of infected dogs may remain free from complications. This, however, does not imply that prevention and treatment are not necessary. Prevention and tick control should remain high on the list of priorities to protect your dog against the possibilities of developing Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease Vaccinations

There are 3 types of vaccinations against dog Lyme disease. It's important to know the differences among them to help make the best decision when considering this type of protection.

  • Fort Dodge's vaccine - This vaccine, like many others, contains a killed version of the Lyme disease virus, which is injected into the host. This vaccine may be considered more risky, as injection of the actual virus may lead to symptoms or to a vaccine allergic reaction.
  • Merial's vaccine - This vaccine uses antibodies that protect specifically against OspA, the surface protein the tick uses to attach itself to the dog. When the tick ingests blood containing these antibodies, the disease is potentially blocked from transmission.
  • Intervet-Schering-Plough's vaccine - This vaccine protects against OspA and OspC. OspC antibodies actually kill any remaining proteins that were missed by the OspA protection. This vaccine may be considered the most effective in protecting against dog Lyme disease.

Vaccination Considerations

If you're considering a dog Lyme disease vaccination, there are some important points to note that may help you make your decision. The vaccination is another method by which to prevent this disease. Protection is important, but weighing potential consequences is important, as well. Consider the overall health of your dog and the potential for the immune system to fight such a disease naturally. In many cases, this is what actually takes place. Some specialists believe that the potential risk factors of vaccination far outweigh the possibility of contracting the disease and developing complications. Keep in mind that vaccination can actually cause an untreatable form of Lyme disease. This is rare, but possible. Additionally, there are other tick-borne diseases that are much more life-threatening, for which there are no vaccinations. Even if you've decided to protect your dog from Lyme disease by opting for vaccination, there is still potential for other fatal illness and disease caused by the bite of a tick.