Lyme Vaccine for Dogs Pros and Cons

Lyme disease is a tick-borne sickness caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is widespread on all continents except Antarctica. Lyme disease was first discovered in the Northeast of the United States, where it continues to be most prevalent, although it has now spread to other parts of the country.

Lyme disease is the most frequently diagnosed tick-borne infection in dogs in the United States. In 2019, 5% of canine blood samples tested for Lyme disease at a reference laboratory were positive for infection.

The clinical manifestations of Lyme disease vary greatly. Lyme disease is often asymptomatic in dogs. There are no indicators of disease in dogs. However, approximately 10% of infected dogs exhibit clinical indications of Lyme disease a few months after being bitten by a tick carrying the disease.

Fever, lethargy, and limping are all common clinical indications of Lyme disease in dogs. Antibiotics are often effective in dogs exhibiting minor symptoms. Some infected dogs go on to develop a dangerous kidney illness known as Lyme nephritis, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Lyme Vaccine for Dogs Pros and Cons

Lyme vaccines are available in a variety of formulations, each manufactured by a separate company. While the formulations of these vaccinations vary slightly, they all contain trace amounts of the outer surface proteins present on Lyme bacteria. Certain vaccines contain whole dead bacteria (including their outer surface proteins), while others contain solely laboratory-created outer surface proteins. Regardless of the delivery method, it is these outer surface proteins that are principally responsible for the immunological response in the body.

When a dog takes the Lyme vaccination, the immune system produces antibodies against the vaccine's outer surface proteins. This prepares the dog's immune system to respond to these proteins in the future. This reaction eliminates the bacteria and hence prevents infection.

One unique feature of Lyme immunizations is that, in many situations, the vaccine works within the tick rather than the dog. Borrelia burgdorferi is a bacteria that lives in the gut of an infected tick and is transmitted to dogs via tick bites. When a tick bites a dog, it consumes the dog's blood as well. This blood has antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi, which begin attacking the bacteria immediately upon contact with the tick's gut, rather than waiting for the germs to be injected into the dog.

Lyme Vaccine for Dogs Pros

The Lyme vaccination helps prevent Lyme disease in dogs, a bacterial infection spread by black-legged (also known as deer or Ixodes) ticks found in many regions of the country's forests and long grasses.

Lyme vaccines appear to prevent seroconversion or sickness in the majority (60–86 percent) of vaccinated dogs, but not constantly or for an extended period of time, and so annual (or even every six months) boostering has been advised.

Lyme Vaccine for Dogs Cons

Immune responses are triggered by vaccinations. As a result, mild side effects are to be expected. Mild fever, tiredness, discomfort at the injection site, and decreased appetite are all possible side effects. The same as when you get a flu shot, your dog's response to a vaccine can cause mild, short-term symptoms.

In rare cases, there are some serious effects. Vaccine reactions that are life-threatening require immediate attention, even if they are infrequent. These responses are indicative of an allergic reaction to a vaccination component.

The following symptoms may indicate an allergic reaction to the Lyme vaccine.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face
  • Itching 
  • Breathing problems
  • Extreme sluggishness 

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