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In response to questions about Lyme disease in dogs and the Lyme vaccine, I would like to share the advice that Dr. Ronald Schultz, Chair of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine gave me for my 2 dogs, who both receive(d) (one died in July from a mast cell tumor which developed at a rabies vaccination site) 100+ tick bites a summer.

I was concerned after having contracted Lyme twice myself; however, none of the dogs we have had over 30 years were ever vaccinated against Lyme or ever contracted the disease. After getting it myself, I was reconsidering. Dr. Schultz advised me that there was far more risk associated with the Lyme vaccine than there was with antibiotics to treat the disease if one or both dogs contracted Lyme.

He further explained that if they tested positive for Lyme, but displayed no symptoms, then not to treat them with antibiotics because it indicated that they had been exposed to the disease, but hadn't contracted the disease. However, he said, that if they tested positive for Lyme and had symptoms (lameness, fever, lethargy, etc..), then start treatment. Dr. Schultz elaborated by telling me that in vaccinology, immunology, the point is not to prevent infection, it is to prevent disease. In fact, low-grade infections are introduced to elicit immune responses, which is how vaccination works, by introducing an attenuated (weakened) antigen into the animal's system.

Further, he said that a positive Lyme test in an ASYMPTOMATIC dog merely reflects the fact that the dog has been exposed; positive Lyme test in a dog with SYMPTOMS indicates that the animal has contracted the disease and needs treatment.

Based on his advice, I have chosen to not vaccinate my dog(s) against Lyme. Below are links to a few articles on the subject which may help you in deciding whether or not to vaccinate your dog against Lyme.

           Lyme is a [b:3hdegygk]
 
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