Should my dog get the Lyme disease vaccine?

Our question this week was:

Hi Dr Debra,

I live just north of Boston & I often take my dog for walks in the woods, so I realize I am putting him at risk of contacting Lyme disease. I had a Vet appointment a couple of weeks ago & he tested negative for Lyme. I did start him on the first series of the Lyme vaccine, but I work at an animal shelter & many people there thought I was crazy to get the vaccination. I try very hard to check him after our walks but he his all black making it difficult to spot ticks, also he is on frontline. This is my first dog & I just recently started going to my Vet, & I really like her. All I want to do is to do what is best for my dog and the more I try and educate myself of vaccinations & such the more confused I become. Any advice?Thank youLori & Toby

P.S. I currently receive your newsletter & I think it is awesome. It's fun, informative & it's a wonderful service you provide for pet lovers. Thank you so much


Hi Lori and thanks for your email and kind words about my newsletter. I work hard to keep you informed of the latest in pet information.

Your question was about if your dog needs the Lyme disease vaccine. The Borreliosis/Lyme disease vaccine is recommended for dogs that live in an endemic area where risk of exposure to the tick vector is high or dogs that travel to endemic areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – you area (Boston) is at HIGH risk for Lyme disease.

If I were in your shoes – I'd ensure my dog has the vaccine. On the other hand, if you wrote that you had a small poodle in Houston Texas (a non-Lyme endemic area) – I'd say no – you don't need the vaccine.

An article that might be helpful to you is Lyme Disease.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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