Canine Lyme Vaccine Side Effects: What You Need To Know

Vaccines help prevent life-threatening illnesses in dogs, including Lyme disease. While considered non-core, the Lyme disease vaccine in canines is highly advisable to cover more bases in terms of health. It’s also important to know both the benefits and canine Lyme vaccine side effects, so you can care for your dog properly.

What is canine Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a condition spread by ticks, which is one of the notorious parasites among canines. The tricky part is that it may take months from the time of infection for symptoms to develop.

Some of the signs of canine Lyme disease are swollen joints, fever, difficulty walking, and enlargement of the lymph nodes.

Aside from that, Lyme disease in dogs can either be recombinant or adjuvant. But whatever the type is, Lyme disease can cause kidney failure and even death.

Does my dog need a Lyme disease vaccine?

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Canine Lyme vaccine is a non-core shot given to dogs once they reach 8 to 9 weeks old. Since it’s non-core, it’s up to the owner to decide whether they want to get the shot for their pooch. Nevertheless, the vet may recommend giving the Lyme vaccine to a canine if it’s at high risk of infection.

The answer to whether your dog needs this shot or not is quite tricky. If your place is identified to be high risk in Lyme disease infection, it’s best to give your dog the shot. This is often the case when the area has a high tick population, especially in grassy and wooded places.

But then again, it’s not a core vaccine, so it’s purely optional. Other pet owners forego this shot since it costs around $20 to $40, which is a lot of money for many.

In case you decided to get your dog the Lyme disease vaccine, it should be administered in two doses. It should be given two to four weeks apart. Depending on the vet’s recommendations, your dog may need a booster after six months. Thereafter, yearly boosters can be given to your dog.

Canine Lyme vaccine side effects

Overall, the benefits of Lyme disease vaccines overcome its side effects. Besides, all vaccines have side effects, but most of them are mild and will wear off after a day or two. Also, the side effects are a sign that your dog’s body is building immunity towards the infection.

Usually, a dog may experience the following side effects after getting a canine Lyme disease vaccine:

  • Swelling and pain on the injection site
  • Nausea
  • Digestive upset
  • Poor appetite
  • Fever
  • Red patches or hives, especially on the belly area
  • Fainting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Facial swelling

If your dog experiences the last four side effects, I recommend consulting the veterinarian. While most of them are not life-threatening, it’s still best to get the advice of a professional.

Take note that even though vaccines are made to fight off illnesses, some dogs may develop adverse reactions towards them. Whatever the vaccine is, the extreme side effect a dog may experience is anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis due to canine vaccines is rare, but not impossible. In general, it occurs in every 1 out of 10,000 doses.

Don’t worry because all dogs would stay in the vet’s clinic after vaccination for a short observation phase. In case your dog exhibits signs of anaphylaxis, the vet can mitigate the situation right away.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that’s the question!

The decision of whether to give your dog the Lyme disease vaccine or not can be based on several aspects.

First, consider the situation in your area. If you leave near a forest or grassy area, the tick population would normally be bigger. This means that your dog is in high exposure, which requires additional protection – like the vaccine.

Another aspect you can consider is the recommendation of the vet. If your dog had Lyme disease before, the veterinarian may recommend that the canine be given the shot.

Lastly, you should know that the Lyme disease vaccine was observed to trigger more adverse side effects than other shots. Nevertheless, the symptoms are unlikely to become severe unless your pet has an underlying health problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long do the side effects of the Lyme disease vaccine last in dogs?

A: Most side effects of the Lyme disease vaccine will only last for a day or two. Some canines may stretch it to three to four days, but that’s quite rare. If your pet keeps exhibiting adverse effects for a week, you should call the veterinarian. Your doggo might be suffering from an allergic shock or other potentially life-threatening vaccine side effects.

Q: Does the Lyme vaccine make dogs sick?

A: The Lyme disease vaccine won’t make your dog sick. However, it’s normal for the canine to experience minor side effects. These symptoms will clear up on their own in a day or two. As long as your doggo isn’t experiencing underlying health issues, the Lyme disease vaccine is considered safe.

Q: Why is my dog shaking after getting shots?

A: Stress and fear can cause your dog to shake after receiving its vaccinations. However, if the shaking occurs within 24 hours, it might be a typical side effect of the vaccine. Even humans experience shivers when they are given shots. Overall, this is normal, but you should still monitor your dog until its condition improves.

Q: How do I comfort my dog after getting its shots?

A: Vaccination can be a pretty stressful experience for dogs. To help comfort your scared pooch, you should keep him in a quiet room. Your presence will also help the dog calm down and rest. Aside from that, you should shower the canine with treats as long as it’s not vomiting.

Final words

Canine Lyme vaccine side effects are pretty normal. In fact, any vaccine can trigger side effects among dogs. The key here is communicating with your pet’s veterinarian to manage the symptoms. Also, your focus should be to provide relief and comfort to your pooch.

Overall, your dog will feel good as new after one to two days upon receiving the shot.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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