Protecting our pups from Lyme disease, why they have a vaccine and we don’t


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — We hear over and over how important tick checks are when it comes to preventing Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. But, how often are you checking your dogs, rolling and playing in areas where they’re prone to hiding?

“We’re seeing a lot more ticks in this area, so we’re also seeing a lot more exposure to Lyme disease,” said Veterinarian Heather Danboise, Medical Director of Shop City Animal Hospital.

“The early signs families will see are lethargic, kind of achy dogs or lame on one leg and then the other leg a few days later,” said Danboise. “To an extreme, Lyme can cause kidney failure.”

Veterinarians encourage prevention pills for dogs, and in some cases, even a Lyme vaccine. It’s available for our pups, but not for us.

Infectious Disease Physician Kristopher Paolino with Upstate Medical University tells NewsChannel 9’s Nicole Sommavilla, a vaccine for people is in the works. It’s based off one from the ’90s that wasn’t available for long.

In 1999, a lawsuit was filed against the drug company by people claiming they developed arthritis after getting the vaccine.

“They realized it probably wasn’t the vaccine that was causing these symptoms but they weren’t sure what it was,” said Paolino.

So the company pulled it in 2002. Now it’s working to recreate that vaccine, but it’s only in phase two.

In the meantime, he and Dr. Danboise urge you to be vigilant with tick checks and protect your pets.

“Your flea and tick preventions are the most important standby, but that vaccine gives us just a little bit more protection,” said Danboise.

The vaccine for dogs is given once a year. It’s important to talk with your vet and make sure it’s right for you and your dog.

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