Side Effects of Lyme Disease Vaccine for Dogs

In recent years, there has been a variety of controversy around the topic of vaccines – whether they are worth it or not. Turns out, this is not only a discussion around humans – but for the dog community, as well.

Are you wondering whether or not it is a good idea to get your dog the Lyme disease vaccine? Thankfully, you can get questions answered right here at this blog. This article is going to dive into:

  • What is Lyme disease?
  • What a dog vaccine is and why it is recommended
  • The “core vaccines” the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force recommends getting
  • The factors that affect whether or not it is ideal to get a dog vaccinated
  • Potential dog Lyme vaccine side effects

After reviewing this information, it is recommended to reach out to your trusted veterinary professional and get their feedback and hear their expert opinion on whether or not your dog should be vaccinated.

What Does Lyme Disease Do?

Before diving into whether or not to get the vaccine, it’s important that you know more about Lyme Disease and what risks it can pose to your dog, which may help in your decision-making later down the road.

How Would Lyme Disease Affect My Dog?

This can be a complicated question because Lyme Disease can have different levels of effects across different types of dogs. For example, there are dogs who get this health condition and, particularly in certain areas of the United States, do not always show canine Lyme disease symptoms.

As shared by Meryl Littman, lead researcher at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine explains, “95% of exposed dogs don’t get sick, but they become Lyme antibody-positive on tests, which may scare people into thinking they need to be treated.”

What are the “core vaccines” and “non-core” vaccines?

There are certain vaccines considered the vital core and others that are highly recommended, but not necessarily in the “most recommended”.  According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force, the core vaccines are considered to be:

Just behind these almost-always-recommended vaccines are the “non-core” vaccines, which are:

Yes, the Lyme vaccine is in the top 8 vaccines (lower half “non-core”) recommended by a trusted task force that has the purpose of sharing vaccination recommendations in both the United States and in Canada.

The Potential Dog Lyme Disease Vaccine Side Effects

There can be side effects to getting vaccinated, however, most side effects are found to be a rare occurrence, according to established veterinary clinics like Harlingen Veterinary Clinic. Some of the potential side effects you may witness may include:

The most extreme potential side effect that could occur is likely anaphylaxis, which is a type of shock. It only occurs for 1 in every 10,000 doses, so it is rare. If this were to occur, what would happen would be a sudden weakness in a dog, fast heartbeat and potentially collapse or fatal consequences. Again, this is a rare case that does not happen often. Like any procedure or medical endeavor with humans, but, there is some level of risk.

Although these may sound scary, it is important to note that if any of these occur, the symptoms are typically quite mild and go away quickly. Just as us humans take medicines or get vaccines that can make us a bit sore that day or feel briefly under the weather, the similar situation can happen to canines. Symptoms may appear but it does not necessarily cause for alarm. In any case, it is always good to consult with your trusted vet professional.

To Vaccinate or Not Vaccinate

When deciding on whether to get the vaccine or not, there are different perspectives to consider. While there are potential risks, these are quite rare.

If you live near a forest where ticks are prevalent, you may want to err on the side of caution and take your dog in to be vaccinated. When it comes to Lyme disease, or any other health condition for that matter, you want to protect your pup as well as possible so they don’t contract any diseases that could have been prevented.

For further questions on whether you should vaccinate your dog, contact your trusted veterinarian for more guidance.


“The Lyme Vaccine For Dogs: 3 Top Reasons To Avoid It.” Dogs Naturally Magazine, 25 June 2018, Accessed 9 Dec 2018.

“Dog Vaccinations.” Harlingen Veterinary Clinic, 16 May 2017, Accessed 9 Dec 2018.

“AAHA Canine Vaccination Task Force.” AAHA, Accessed 9 Dec 2018.

Elliott, Pippa. “Canine Lyme Vaccine Side Effects.” LoveToKnow, Accessed 9 Dec 2018.


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