LYME VACCINATION UPDATE

Veremedy Lyme VaccinationIt is rare for consensus to occur on many disease topics in the medical world, and Lyme disease in both dogs and humans is particularly rife with controversy.  For years there has been a debate on the value of vaccinating dogs against Lyme disease; a debate featuring a concern  that the vaccine could actually make the worst form of the disease more likely to occur.  At Veremedy, we shared that concern, and took a first-do-no-harm approach to the Lyme disease vaccine.  Based on recent research and conversations with leading Lyme disease experts in the field, we now believe that routine use of the Lyme disease vaccine is unlikely to make the disease worse, and in fact it may prevent some of the very worst forms of this difficult disease.

To review, most dogs (as in 90%) exposed to the causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, do not develop clinical signs of the disease.  They mount an antibody response, but they do not get sick.  Some dogs do get sick, they spike a fever, they develop a painful joint condition, and they become lame and lethargic.  Nearly all of these dogs improve dramatically with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication.  There is a very rare form of Lyme disease in dogs, it does not seem to occur in humans, that results in a fatal kidney condition known as Lyme Nephrosis.  This disease is particularly frustrating in that the damage to the kidneys is not caused by the bacteria, but rather, by the body’s immune response to the bacteria.  It is this immune-mediated nature of the disease that gave many experts concern about the possibility that the use of an immune-stimulating vaccine might make the kidney form of Lyme disease more common, not less.

Dr. Richard Goldstein, a leading expert on both kidney disease and Lyme disease, has done research that he believes demonstrates that vaccination of dogs against Lyme disease does not increase its likelihood, but in fact decreases this form of the disease.  Veremedy has researched recombinant DNA technology that is used in one of the leading pharmaceutical company’s Lyme vaccine, and we believe it is safe and effective.  Additional research has shown that increased use of Lyme vaccine does not increase the number of kidney cases, but in fact, the use of the vaccine likely decreases this dreaded form of the disease.

So, since our largest fear, that the vaccine would cause more kidney disease, does not seem to be the concern some experts postulated, and since the leading kidney expert recommends the use of the vaccine to prevent the worst form of the disease, and since there is newer vaccine technology for Lyme disease, Veremedy Pet Hospital now recommends routine screening for this disease and routine vaccination.   We can still find experts who disagree with this approach, but all of the veterinarians at Veremedy, none of whom had vaccinated their personal dogs against Lyme disease in the past, recently vaccinated all of their canine pets against Lyme disease.

 

8 Comments to LYME VACCINATION UPDATE

  1. Lisa Perera's Gravatar Lisa Perera
    May 10, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Very interesting article! Thank you for posting this, Dr. Brad!

  2. ginny volk's Gravatar ginny volk
    May 12, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Brad,
    Does a dog get future immunity from Lyme, after having had Lyme disease? If a dog has had Lyme, does she need the vaccine?
    ginny

  3. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    June 6, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    I ran across this while searching for info to help my dog.
    My 3 yr old Golden Retriever has had her yearly lyme vaccines,etc.. ever since we got her at 8 weeks old. She had her last lyme vac. just 2 weeks ago.
    She started vomiting the next day, and now she is struggling with kidney problems.(Lyme Nephrosis)
    Not much to say from my end, as I’m no expert. However, it seems pretty clear to me the controversy is not over. I wish I had known there even was a controversy..especially for Goldens and Labs. I’ve just learned of all of this in the past 3 hellish days. I had no idea the vaccines were controversial. I do feel very strongly now that clients should be informed by their Vet about this in order to make our own decisions about what is best for their beloved pet.

    • Ang's Gravatar Ang
      June 6, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Hi Donna, I know what you are going through. We lost our 3 yr old chocolate lab this past December due to kidney failure. He had his lyme vaccines with boosters yearly also. One day he was running around playing, the next he was sick with kidney failure. He tested faint positive for lyme; used tick protection too. Did much research after and found out about the controversy too, and wish we were informed. My heart goes out to you and your Golden.

  4. June 6, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Donna,

    I am so sorry for your dog’s health problem. We are very frustrated with this disease as I am sure your veterinarian is as well. We have seen dogs effected with the kidney form of the disease, and wondered if we had failed the owner by not using the vaccine aggressively enough. It is equally frustrating to use the vaccine, hoping it will prevent some cases of this terrible disease, and then still have to deal with the kidney problems. More research is being done, so hopefully this muddy medical issue will be clarified some day soon.

  5. Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
    July 21, 2016 at 2:54 PM

    Is it safe to give the vaccine to a dog with a chronic kidney disease?

    I opted out the vaccine for my 14 yr old beagle with chronic kidney disease for the last few years. I found 2 ticks on her this week and she was NOT on FrontLine Plus (My bad!). My vet recommended vaccinating her now, but I’m wondering if the vaccination could get her kidney disease worse. Please advise.

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