Canine Lyme Vaccination Induces Short-Lasting Antibody Responses in Horses

New research shows vaccinating horses using canine vaccine gives low, short-lasting antibody response. Thinkstock

Lyme vaccines for dogs are frequently used off-label in horses. New research from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine shows that the antibody responses of horses are often of low magnitude and short-lasting.

Dr. Bettina Wagner, associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell and one of the researchers who discovered the low antibody response, suggested that horse owners double the canine dose, then test for antibody levels in order to ensure the horse is protected from debilitating Lyme.

Wagner says, “Our research shows that equine antibody responses to dog Lyme vaccines are often of low magnitude and short-lasting. 

“Doubling the canine dose can enhance antibody magnitude but not longevity of the response,” she continued. “In addition, bacterin-based vaccines can boost antibodies against infection markers in non-naïve animals and are not recommended.

“Because horses react individually different to vaccination, antibody induction by dog Lyme vaccines should be confirmed by antibody testing to ensure protective immunity,” she said.

The study was published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information. You can find more information at

You can find Wagner’s biography at

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