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Lyme Disease Vaccine for Dogs

Updated on August 21, 2013
drpennypincher profile image

Dr. Penny Pincher has a Ph.D. in engineering and loves animals. He has raised peacocks, chickens, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and pigs.

Protect your dog with Lyme disease vaccine
Protect your dog with Lyme disease vaccine | Source

What is Lyme disease and how does Lyme disease spread?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by being bitten by an infected tick. The tick must be attached for 24 hours or more to cause a Lyme disease infection. Lyme disease affects both dogs and humans. The symptoms of Lyme disease include joint pain/lameness, lethargy, and fever. Lyme disease is difficult to treat and can lead to complications that affect the nervous system and internal organs. Lyme disease can be fatal in some cases.

The chances of being infected with Lyme disease can be reduced by keeping your dog away from areas likely to have ticks, quickly removing any ticks that attach, and giving your dog flea and tick control to kill ticks that attach.

Can you get Lyme disease vaccine for dogs?

Yes! I was excited to see that my vet offered a Lyme disease vaccination for dogs. I live in the Midwest, one of the regions impacted by Lyme disease infections. I have found ticks in my yard, although I have not found any ticks attached to my family or dogs. I apply monthly tick and flea control medication to my dogs that kills ticks and fleas, but am still concerned about Lyme disease since this disease causes such severe symptoms and is hard to treat.

Vaccinate your dog to prevent Lyme disease
Vaccinate your dog to prevent Lyme disease | Source

How much does Lyme disease vaccine for dogs cost?

You’ll need to get your dog screened for Lyme disease before getting a Lyme disease vaccination. Giving the Lyme disease vaccine to a dog that is infected with Lyme disease can worsen symptoms. A screening test for tick-borne diseases of Lyme Disease, Anaplasma Phagocytophylum, and Ehrlichia Canis plus heart worm screening costs about $50.

The Lyme disease vaccination costs about $30 per injection. The first year, your dog will need need an initial injection ($30) plus a booster injection a few weeks later ($30). The following years, your dog will need one injection as an annual booster ($30 per injection).

Should you get your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease?

I decided to vaccinate all of my dogs for Lyme disease. You should consider the risks and advantages before deciding to vaccinate your dog. There is a small risk that the vaccine can cause Lyme disease symptoms, the very thing you are trying to prevent by giving the vaccine. There is also the cost issue, and you will need to get a booster shot every year. Another consideration- Lyme disease is only one tick-borne disease. The Lyme disease vaccine does not protect your dog from all tick-borne diseases, so even if you vaccinate for Lyme disease, you should still be careful of ticks.

You should consider the exposure level of your dog to Lyme disease. Is Lyme disease prevalent in your area? Does your dog spend a lot of time outside? I decided that the risk level for my dogs was high enough to get them vaccinated.

I vaccinated all of my dogs, even my small dog that does not spend much time outside. Finding ticks in my yard was a factor in this decision. Ticks can be spread by small animals such as rabbits or squirrels. We have lots of rabbits around- I suspect ticks rode into our yard on one of the many rabbits in the area.

How many Lyme disease vaccine shots are required to vaccinate your dog?

Lyme disease vaccine for dogs is a 2 injection series- an initial injection followed about 2 weeks later with a booster. An annual booster shot is also needed to extend protection against Lyme disease infection.

Can you get human Lyme disease vaccination?

Human Lyme disease vaccine sounds like a great idea, especially for people who spend time camping, hiking,, etc. A human Lyme disease vaccine was approved in 1998, but was withdrawn from the market. There is not currently a human Lyme disease vaccine available. You’ll need to take precautions against ticks if you spend time where ticks may be present- wear long sleeves and pants, use tick repellent, and check yourself for ticks and remove them promptly.

Take tick precautions in areas where your dog is exposed to ticks
Take tick precautions in areas where your dog is exposed to ticks | Source

How can you reduce exposure to ticks?

Here are some tips to reduce exposure to ticks to help prevent tick-borne diseases:

  • Use tick and flea repellant on your dog if you plan to be in the woods or other areas with high tick concentration
  • Give your dog tick and flea control. This is a once-a-month dose applied to your dog’s skin that kills ticks and fleas
  • Keep your yard mowed and trim grass around trees and landscaping. This will remove places for ticks to hide from birds that eat them.
  • Check your dog for ticks after your dog has spend time outdoors
  • Give your dog a summer buzz- trim your dog’s fur short: this will make it easier to spot ticks so you can remove them promptly, reducing the chances of your dog being infected by Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases

© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher


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    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Writer Fox- I think lots of people would benefit from a human Lyme disease vaccine. There must have been side effects from the human vaccine...

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I'm glad to know that there is a vaccine for dogs. It does seem strange, though, that the one for humans was withdrawn.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      stephanieb27- I was surprised when my vet offered Lyme disease vaccine at our last visit. It's great that vaccination is available!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Great hub! I was not aware they had this vaccination for dogs!