The Lyme vaccine can cause an untreatable form of Lyme disease and, like all bacterial diseases, provides short-term immunity and needs to be repeated frequently. It is not recommended at any of the vet schools in the United States. The human Lyme vaccine was withdrawn from the market. And there is one more, very compelling, reason to question the benefit of Lyme vaccination for dogs. There are other tick borne diseases that are much more serious than Lyme, for which we have no vaccines. So even if a very safe and effective Lyme vaccine were developed for dogs, vaccination isn't going to lessen the need for tick prevention. Which to my mind puts tick prevention in the forefront of Lyme prevention, and the vaccine's risk vs. benefit analysis heavy on the risk side.
We are well aware of the various TYPES of vaccine but the fact that they are not 100% effective and they CANNOT guarentee they will prevent the disease, so it makes NO sense to subject your dog to the possible repercussions when there is no guarentee the shot will even help. Why play russian roulette with your dogs life?
There are several whole-cell killed vaccines on the market that are licensed for use in the dog, including Lymevax by Fort Dodge and Lyme Galaxy by Schering-Plough.
Recombinant vaccines, such as Recombitek Lyme by Merial and ProLyme by Intervet are also available, and tend to produce fewer vaccine reactions.
However, total protection of a dog through any vaccine is difficult. One reason is that there are various strains of Borrelia and antibodies made in response to one strain of the bacteria will not always be able to kill a different strain. In addition, if an animal is previously infected with the disease the vaccine will not offer any protection.
These facts coupled with the relatively long incubation period (up to 5 months) contribute to the failure of some of these vaccines in preventing disease. In addition, 90% of dogs exposed NEVER become ill and if they do, Doxycycline or other antibiotics will normally address the situation with a 2-4 week course.