Vaccinations are a necessary part of maintaining your pet's health. In areas where Lyme disease is highly endemic, particularly the Northeastern U.S., it is recommended to have your pet vaccinated against Lyme disease-causing bacteria. A vaccine is available for dogs that provides an additional layer of protection and significantly reduces the chance of contracting Lyme disease even when bitten by an infected tick. No vaccine or repellent is 100% effective, but combining immunization with once-a-month tick preventive treatments provides your dog with the maximum protection possible against tick bites and Lyme disease.
The vaccine, given by your veterinarian, contains killed Lyme disease-causing bacteria (or man-made portions of the bacteria) that boost the bodies immune system to help fight off possible infections. Following the initial vaccination and a booster shot 2-4 weeks later, your dog will develop protective antibodies lasting the whole year. To maintain a strong immunity against these insidious bacteria, a single, annual immunization is necessary to help keep your dog healthy. So remember to ask your veterinarian about vaccinating against Lyme disease on your next visit.
**Even if your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease in the past they should be vaccinated. Previous infection with Lyme disease-causing bacteria does not confer protection against future infected tick bites so get them vaccinated today.
There is no scientific evidence that suggests cats succumb to Lyme disease, therefore they do not need to be vaccinated. Although they can't get sick, ticks that ride in on your cat pose a great risk to you and your family. So apply tick preventive products that are safe for cats and kill the ticks that may come home with them.