Does Your Dog Really Need a Lyme Disease Vaccination? Find Out.

Lyme Disease Vaccination in Dogs – Veterinarians Don’t Agree

The argument continues whether to immunize or not vaccinate for Lyme disease. If veterinarians can not agree, how does a client choose. Anytime a veterinarian chooses to make use of a vaccine, Lyme disease or other, the vet has to weigh the risks and advantages for the client. So what are some of the factors to think about.

Where does your pet live?

Living in an endemic location for Lyme disease needs to be thought about. In humans, 95 % of Lyme disease cases are discovered in 12 endemic states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest. In a few of these areas, 70 % to 90 % of the healthy pet dogs have actually been exposed to Lyme disease. An essential element for avoidance in the areas is good tick control, which can decrease the risk for condition. Vaccination must be considered more frequently in a native to the island area.

Exactly how fantastic is the danger of severe disease, as soon as a pet is contaminated?

Typically, the threat of extreme disease, once the pet is infected, is low. It has actually been stated that less than 2 % of exposed dogs develop the more significant ailment, Lyme nephritis (kidney swelling). Likewise, co-infection (infection with more than one representative) appears to lead to even more significant health problem. There also could be a hereditary predisposition to the degree of inflammation produced from the illness. Retrievers and soft-coated wheaten terriers appear to a genetic sensitivity. In studies, less than 5 % of favorable dogs had arthritis, the most common ailment. These cases usually respond quickly to common and affordable antibiotics.

Exactly how effective is the vaccine?

Definitely not as efficient as various other vaccines. The vaccine appears to prevent infection in 60 % -86 % of the dogs vaccinated. Protection is not long lasting and booster vaccinations are given every 6 months or at least yearly.

Is the vaccine safe?

The vaccine does not seem as safe as the more common vaccines utilized today for various other illness. In a 1.2 million research of immunized pets, the Lyme vaccine produced even more after vaccination negative reactions within 3 days, than other vaccine. These reactions were judged as moderate. The responses were associated with swelling. In a research, 30 % of the pets with Lyme nephritis had actually been given the Lyme vaccine 2 weeks to 15 months prior to ailment. This also raises the concern whether to immunize retrievers and soft-coated wheaten terriers. They most likely SHOULD NOT be immunized.


1. Tick control is necessary is helping to prevent the illness.
2. The majority of pets tested positive for Lyme disease are nonclinical.
3. Large bulk of confirmed cases can be treated with common and economical prescription antibiotics.
4. A lot of pets do not show signs of Lyme disease after vaccination, but the exact same holds true for naturally exposed pet dogs.
5. Lyme disease vaccine have a short period and trigger even more post vaccination unfavorable events.
6. The canines most vulnerable to Lyme disease (hereditary predisposition), which need the most security, should not be vaccinated.

Hopefully this offers some helpful details in making a decision to immunize for Lyme disease or not.

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Happy Holidays but Watch Out for Potential Pet Toxins

The holiday season is a time of year when people decorate their homes of Christmas trees and have busy holiday plans. It is a time for cooking and baking desserts many of which include chocolate.

Ingestion of seasonal plants

We know that there are a lot of concerns around the holidays, especially certain potential intoxications such as chocolate and the ingestion of those seasonal plants. The three common plants that one finds around the holidays are poinsettias, holly and mistletoe.

Fortunately, none of these plants are particularly dangerous except that they can cause significant gastro-intestinal upset which would include vomiting and diarrhea. If a pet consumes one of these plants you should call your veterinarian right away and talk to them about it.

Ingestion of chocolate

A lot of people know that chocolate is potentially toxic to dogs but what we need to recognize is that there are different kinds of chocolate. The two toxic components in chocolate are caffeine and theobromine. It is the theobromine in chocolate which causes most of the symptoms in a pet. Theobromine affects the pet’s intestinal system, nervous system (brain), cardiovascular system and the kidneys. The main one that could be lethal produces cardiac arrhythmias, which causes the heart not to beat the way that it normally should.

Milk chocolate is one that could potentially be toxic but is usually a threat to small dogs. However, baker’s chocolate actually has ten times the amount of the toxin, theobromine, than milk chocolate. The risk of a true toxicity is much higher with baker’s chocolate then with milk chocolate.

How much is this too much? Veterinarians get a lot of questions of people calling about a pet getting into a Hershey’s bar or kisses. Now, it really depends on two things. First, one must consider the size of the pet. For example, a big dog is going to be much less likely to be intoxicated than a very small dog.

The second factor is how much and what kind of chocolate was consumed. If your pet gets into chocolate products, it is really important to find out how much theobromine that product contains.

“Let’s look at how much theobromine is in certain types of chocolate, and then we can best know if you need to be concerned about chocolate poisoning in your pet. A 5oz milk chocolate bar contains 250mg of theobromine, a dark chocolate bar contains 600 mg. Unsweetened baking chocolate contains 400mg theobromine per square, Semisweet chocolate chips (30 chips), 250mg. Dry cocoa powder contains 700 mg of theobromine per ounce.

The toxic and potentially fatal dose of chocolate is 60mg/kg- so a 10lb dog only needs to consume 300mg of chocolate. Clinical Signs can be seen as low as 20mg/kg- meaning a small 10lb dog only needs to consume 100mg to have problems. Severe signs are seen at 40mg/kg- or consuming 200mg of chocolate.

A poodle weighing 10lbs can be fatally poisoned by as little as one milk chocolate bar containing 250mg of theobromine. A 75lb larger breed dog, such as a Golden Retriever, would need to eat to eat 8 milk chocolate bars to become seriously ill. On the other hand, the dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are far more toxic; the 75lb Golden only needs to consume 3 of the dark chocolate bars to be fatally poisoned.”

One can either look on the of the label of the rapper of the product. Many companies, such as the Hershey’s company, have a website you can go to and provides useful information about how much of theobromine is in that particular product.

Also, another option would be calling the National Animal Poison Control Center. If you just go to their website there are some very useful articles on different types of products and potential hazards within the home that you might want to be aware of.

Got a Pet Poison Emergency? Call (888) 426-4435

One thing, you can always call your regular veterinarian and ask for his or her advice on what to do.

Ingestion of macadamia nuts

A lot of people aren’t aware of the fact that macadamia nuts are potentially toxic.

We don’t know what the poisonous agent is but animals consuming macadamia nuts can actually have depression, hallucinations and hind limb weakness.

Macadamia Nuts

Although macadamia nut toxicosis is unlikely to be fatal in dogs, it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms that may persist for up to 48 hours. Affected dogs develop weakness in their rear legs, appear to be in pain, may have tremors and may develop a low grade fever. Fortunately, these signs will gradually subside over 48 hours, but dogs experiencing more than mild symptoms can benefit from veterinary care, which may include intravenous fluid therapy and pain control.”

What to do if you think your pet ingested something poisonous

It’s really important, if you think your dog or your cat has gotten into something that’s potentially toxic, to call your vet and follow their directions. It is best to get your dog or cat to them, so they can evaluate your pet and start treatment, if necessary.

The first thing that your veterinary hospital is going to ask you is… what is the particular compound, product or food that your pet ingested? Next, they’re going to ask how much do you think your pet consumed and third, they’re going to ask, how long has it been since your pet consumed the particular product, substance or food.

What are some other potential recommendations that your veterinarian is likely to make, if your pet has gotten into omething that’s potentially poisonous?

One, they may recommend that you induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Please never do this unless you’ve consulted with your veterinarian first.

Second, they may ask that you bring your pet immediately into the animal hospital for examination, possible laboratory tests and supportive care, such as fluids and administer products to help reduce the absorption of the toxin. Also, they may try to reduce the amount of the ingested substance by nducing vomiting, if that has not been done.

There are numerous potential toxic sources during this time of the year, but the ingestion of chocolate products is still the most common problem encountered by veterinarians during the holidays.


Bell Shoals Animal Hospital
1401 Bell Shoals Road
Brandon, FL 33511

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