The Side Effects of Lyme Boosters for Dogs

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Dogs who experience no side effects when receiving the initial two-stage Lyme inoculation most likely won't develop side effects when the get their yearly Lyme boosters. In 2014, veterinarian Wendy C. Brooks, Educational Director at, wrote that Lyme disease in dogs “is a minor infection not worthy of the attention it has received.” Yet, some dogs face more risk than others: Dogs in the Lyme-endemic areas of the Northeast face greater risks than dogs in other areas; hunting dogs face potential exposure more than apartment-dwelling urban dogs. Whether to vaccinate and then booster yearly afterward is best decided in consultation with your dog's veterinarian.

Decisions, Decisions

Lyme vaccinations work best on dogs who have had no Lyme exposure. Consequently, veterinarians encourage inoculations for puppies. Side effects from Lyme vaccines and boosters look like untreated Lyme infections, but the incidence of side effects is small among the thousands of dogs who receive the vaccinations. Should your dog contract Lyme, veterinarians at the Cornell’s Baker Institute for Animal Health say, don’t worry: Dogs respond well to treatment with antibiotics even when they contract the disease more than once. According to the Baker Institute website, “studies have shown that dogs may recover spontaneously without antibiotic therapy.”