Lyme disease is commonly encountered and is especially prevalent in certain areas of the United States. It is a tick-borne disease that infects dogs, people and other animals. The disease is not transmissible directly from one dog to another. A tick bite is necessary for a dog to become infected with Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease Vaccination for Dogs
There is a vaccine available to protect dogs against Lyme disease. However, the vaccination for canine Lyme disease is considered to be a non-core vaccine. This means that vaccination against this disease is not considered necessary for all dogs and your dog’s lifestyle and risk factors should be carefully evaluated before administering the vaccine.
All vaccines have the potential to cause unwanted side effects. The Lyme disease vaccine is no different. As a result, the benefit of the vaccine must be weighed against the risk of side effects. In some cases, the risk may outweigh any potential benefits.
Canine Lyme Disease Vaccinations Pros and Cons
Because Lyme disease requires a tick bite to be transmitted, your dog’s potential for acquiring ticks is the first consideration in the decision to vaccinate.
If your dog is not likely to be exposed to ticks, vaccination is not recommended. However, ticks can be carried by birds and other wildlife and can be found even in manicured backyards. In addition, the deer ticks that frequently carry Lyme disease are extremely small and easily missed. Nevertheless, there are some dogs that live lifestyles that make tick exposure unlikely. These dogs are not good candidates for the Lyme disease vaccine.
Another consideration to be taken into account when deciding whether to vaccinate or not is the fact that Lyme disease is only one of the tick-borne diseases that can infect your dog. The vaccine, however, only protects against Lyme disease. Vaccinating your dog for Lyme disease does not mean that tick prevention is unnecessary.
Lastly, the vaccination for Lyme disease is not considered to be 100% effective. Some veterinarians do not recommend the vaccination for any dog because of the risk of side effects combined with less than 100% efficacy.
If you frequently find ticks on your dog, vaccination against Lyme disease may be worth considering. On the other hand, dogs that never encounter ticks do not need the vaccine. Your veterinarian can help you decide whether your dog is a candidate for the Lyme disease vaccine.