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Lyme vaccine and testing.

Species: Dog
Breed: jack russell -9 lbs
Age: 2-5 years
Hi, I took missy to the vet yesterday for her lyme vaccination booster shot and then about 5 minutes later the vet gave her a blood test for heartworm and other parasites. Last night the vet called and said the blood test was positive for lyme disease. I was wondering if the results of the blood test could have been positive because of the lyme vaccine being given to her only 5 minutes before.( don't vaccines often carry a small amount of the disease?) thanks- Andrea


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for an interesting question. No, this lyme vaccine would not cause antibodies to appear on the lyme test.

I am going to do some research for you to get some more information on lyme testing for you and get back to you later today. (I'm just heading offline right now.)

I'll send you a mail when I have more info for you.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Okay, any other info would be greatly appreciated.I have read one article that says that the vaccine can actually cause an untreatable form or lyme disease,so I am worried that maybe I should not have let her be vaccinated.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

OK, thanks for your patience! I wanted to be sure that I had accurate information for you before I answered fully.

There are different types of tests that vets can use for lyme disease. The most common that we will use for screening is something called a 4DX test, or some vets will use a C6 test. Both of these tests are quite good at telling the difference between antibodies that are present because exposure to lyme through a tick and antibodies that are present because of vaccines.

Some of the older tests for lyme disease have a hard time distinguishing between vaccine antibodies and disease antibodies. But, here's the information that is important in your dog's case. It takes several days, or even weeks for a dog to develop antibodies against lyme after being vaccinated. So, if your dog was tested 5 minutes after a vaccine, we can know for sure that the antibodies seen on your dog's test are not from the vaccine.

However, this doesn't mean that we have to be worried. Most likely your vet did a 4DX test (as it's the usual screening test we would do). The next step is to the C6 test. This test actually gives us a number that tells us how high the level of infection is. If the level is high enough then your vet will want to treat Missy with an antibiotic called doxycycline to clear the lyme disease.

However, if the number is low, there is some controversy over whether or not to treat. Many dogs will have a small amount of exposure to lyme disease and never get sick. So, if the level of lyme on the C6 is low then your vet may decide to do nothing. This would especially be true if Missy has no symptoms of Lyme disease.

I hope that information is helpful!

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

Thank you so much for the info it helped a lot.


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.