Canine Lyme disease is present in many areas of the United States. This study was conducted in an area of Connecticut with a high incidence of this disorder. Screening of nonvaccinated dogs revealed infection rates ranging from 41% to 73%. The study was conducted to examine the efficacy of the whole-cell Lyme disease bacterin for the prevention of naturally transmitted Borrelia burgdorferi. An in-office kit (SNAP 3Dx-IDEXX Laboratories, Westbrook, ME) was used because it detects infection-induced antibodies and does not react with vaccine-induced antibodies.

Dogs at one of the hospitals in this study were vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine before 6 months of age, and booster shots were given each subsequent year. Prevaccination antibody status was not known. When antibody status was evaluated, 64% of nonvaccinated dogs from this hospital were positive for B. burgdorferi from natural infection compared with 5% of the dogs that had been vaccinated with the whole-cell bacterin. The
preventable fraction was 92.2%.

The high efficacy of the whole-cell Lyme bacterin found in this study supports results from previous studies. Vaccinating dogs at risk before they are exposed to infected ticks should be emphasized. Funding for this study was provided by Fort Dodge Animal Health, Overland Park, KS.

Use of a C6 ELISA test to evaluate the efficacy of a whole-cell bacterin for the prevention of naturally transmitted canine Borrelia burgdorferi infection. Levy SA. VET THER 3:420-424, 2002.