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Lyme vaccine

Dream Puppy

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Does anyone have any experience or feelings on this vaccine? Our vet says it has about a 60 percent effectivness. They are leaving the decision up to us.

The one thing that has me leaning towards doing it is with the SAR training he is spending time in the woods and we are in an area with lots of deer.

My thoughts against are that he is such a young pup and has already had so many vaccines that I do not want to overload his system. He did have the lethargy and huge lump after the rabies which according to our vet only happens in about 5 percent of all dogs. I am not sure if this is an indicator that his system is sensative or if it is just one of those things.

Any input is appreciated.


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I was directed to the information below via Tick-L. One of the vets that posts to that list posted this link.


From this web site:



The relevant part as far as the Lyme vaccine is concerned:


"As far as prevention goes, this is a sticky wicket. There is a great deal of controversy concerning the dog Lyme vaccine. There is a great debate about how well they actually work as well as potential side effects. There are publications concerning its safety, but the researchers only look 24 hours after the vaccine reaction. Research at Cornell University veterinary school brings up some suspicion that there may be potential long term side effects of the vaccine, though nothing is certain. These side effects may vary from rheumatoid arthritis and all the major symptoms of lyme disease to acute kidney failure. Though nothing is definitively documented, I personally am very cautious and do not recommend vaccinating for Lyme disease even though it is so epidemic here. Many veterinary schools and major veterinary centers do not recommend the vaccine for the same concern regarding potential side effects. I have seen all the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs four to eight weeks after the vaccine and when I sent the western blot test to Cornell, it shows no evidence of the disease, only evidence of the dog having been vaccinated, yet the dog shows all the classic symptoms of the disease. There is a new dog vaccine out that claims that it does not have any of the side effects, however, I still remain cautious and will wait for a year or two to see. I personally would rather treat my dog for Lyme disease rather than risking the potential side effects of the vaccine. In addition, there is a question of actually how well it works. Until more safety and decreased risk of side effects and efficacy are demonstrated, I recommend holding off."


FWIW, the vet who posted this link on Tick-L agrees with Dr. Schoen's assessment.


My dogs are in fields and woods and I worry constantly about TBDs, but from all the reading I've done on Tick-L and the problems people have had with the vaccine I would not choose to use it on my dogs.



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Having had 2 dogs with Erlichisos (sp??) my vet tells me that the Lyme vacine is about 70% "ineffective" and the side effects are far to great for me to risk it. Generally year round my dogs wear the PrevenTick collars. There is only so much I can do and I am very stringent in checking them during "season" (which is a long time in the south). But then again, I do not vaccinate after they have their initial puppy shots for the rest of their life. I do run titers and you can do a titer for all TBD's as well. Tick-L is a great resource to learn more about TBD's, protocals, tests, and information about ticks one really could do without :>)



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There are 2 lyme vaccines out there: whole and outer surface protein. The older (whole) had low efficacy while the new OSP has much higher efficacy. I'd bet that most of the info on lyme vaccines out there is for the older whole vaccine and not the newer OSP.


Vector control plays an important role in preventing infection.23 Tick repellents marketed for veterinary use, such as products containing permethrin or amitraz, among others, can be used to control or prevent the ticks from successfully feeding. In a small experimental study, amitraz-impregnated collars were found to successfully prevent B. burgdorferi transmission in all four treated dogs, whereas seroconversion was noted in the four controls.24 Daily grooming to remove ticks may also prove helpful.




A whole-cell killed bacterin vaccine has been available to protect dogs against Lyme disease for the past 10 years. More recently, recombinant vaccines containing the outer surface protein A (OspA) antigen alone have been developed. Antibodies to this antigen have been found to reduce the number of spirochetes within the feeding tick and interfere with the movement of spirochetes into the tick?s salivary glands, thereby effectively preventing transmission of the spirochete to the animal host.25,26 The antibody response to the whole-cell bacterin also results in high concentrations of OspA antibodies and, therefore, likely prevents infection through the same mechanism as the recombinant OspA vaccines.27 High concentrations of anti-OspA antibodies do not typically develop in natural infection, so the effect seen in an infected tick feeding on a previously naturally infected dog will not be the same as described above, though anti-OspC antibodies may have some effect within the tick. Within the past few years, recombinant OspA vaccines have been approved for use in people to prevent Lyme disease. The shift in human medicine from focusing on the development of a wholecell vaccine to a subunit vaccine occurred because of concern that a whole-bacterin vaccine might trigger autoimmunity.28 There are still concerns that the recombinant OspA vaccine may also trigger autoimmunity. It has recently been demonstrated that the human leukocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) shares sequence homology with OspA.29 There is particular concern that people with certain haplotypes, who are susceptible to treatmentresistant Lyme disease-associated chronic arthritis, may be prone to developing such an autoimmune response. Several animals identified in the literature as having demonstrated signs of Lyme arthritis or Lyme nephritis have had evidence of vaccination against Lyme disease but not natural exposure.16,27




In North America, the relative OspA homogeneity among B. burgdorferi strains means that vaccines derived from these strains should protect against challenges with most B. burgdorferi organisms within this region.30 Indeed, the vaccines have demonstrated good efficacy in experimental and field trials.31-35 But as previously described, they do not prevent the development of clinical disease in previously seropositive dogs, because although the immune response mounted secondary to the vaccine effectively prevents spirochete inoculation from an infected tick into the vaccinated host, it will not eliminate the organism from a currently infected animal.




Because of the increasing concern within the veterinary community and general population regarding vaccination protocols in small-animal practice, Lyme disease vaccination in dogs has generated a lot of controversy. The arguments against vaccination are understandable, given the relatively low incidence of clinical disease in the seropositive population; a typically prompt response to appropriate antibiotic therapy; and a vaccine that is less than 100% efficacious and possibly associated with immediate, delayed, or even long-term sequelae. But the arguments for vaccination also are comprehendible, since vaccination might prevent cases of Lyme arthritis that do not respond to treatment; prevent cases of Lyme nephritis that are inevitably fatal; and protect dog populations in endemic areas against B. burgdorferi infection without causing long-term complications. Despite the conflicting arguments, what seems clear at this time is that universal vaccination is not indicated and should not replace appropriate vector control. In addition, dogs should be selected for vaccination based on their residence in, or travel to, an endemic area and their likely exposure to tick populations.


Source: AUGUST 2002 Veterinary Medicine

Killed, whole cell bacterins for the prevention of borreliosis in dogs have been in use since June 1990. Immunized dogs have strong antibody titers to Osp A and Osp B and produce antibodies that kill B burgdorferi in vitro. In one field efficacy study, dogs vaccinated with a commercially available bacterin before tick exposure had the highest degree of protection against disease. Analysis of postvaccination western blots indicated that these dogs lacked the response to antigens typically seen in natural infections. In 1996, a canine vaccine containing only Osp A was introduced in the USA. While once believed that Osp A was the first B burgdorferi protein to which the immune system of the infected dog was exposed, it has been demonstrated that when a tick attaches to a warm-blooded animal, the B burgdorferi in that tick stop producing Osp A and begin producing a new protein, Osp C. Development of vaccines that contain multiple B burgdorferi antigens is being considered.


Source: Merck Vet. Manual

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  • 5 months later...

My boss had his dog vaccinated for lyme disease yesterday (second booster) and last night the dog became very lethargic, was extremely painful to any touch and was shaking a lot (not seizuring though). The vet was called and my boss was told to give the dog a Benadryl. She is not much better today, but has some appetite and is drinking water. She does not want to get up and walk and is still painful to touch. I can not find any specific sites that list all the potential side effects of the vaccine, but it seems as though the vaccine has given her many of the symptoms of the disease.

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Liz, I'm in northern NJ. I vaccinated my eldest dog against Lyme in 1996 I think; perhaps 1997. I don't know what type of vaccine we used or if they are different now.


She got Lyme, and was seriously ill while I was on the opposite side of the country, the day before I travelled home. She had over 105 temp when I got back. She was later diagnosed with early stage kidney failure, attributed to the bout with Lyme.


I guess the moral of my story is "don't let your dog get Lyme." I'm not neccessarily suggesting "don't vaccinate against it." But for now, my choice is not to vaccinate against Lyme. No repeat bouts with Kaylie, and neither of the other two have gotten it, although in the last 10 years we've lived in some areas of NJ with a high rate of Lyme.


I DID get it, a couple of years later. I didn't get vaccinated, so I mention it more to point out that it was certainly likely that the dogs could have been exposed too. I guess we've been lucky [touch wood].

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