ACVIM small animal consensus statement on Lyme disease in dogs: diagnosis, treatment, and prevention

J Vet Intern Med. Mar-Apr 2006;20(2):422-34. doi: 10.1892/0891-6640(2006)20[422:asacso];2.


The purpose of this report is to offer a consensus opinion of ACVIM diplomates on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Borrelia burgdorferi infections in dogs (canine Lyme disease). Clinical syndromes known to commonly be associated with canine Lyme disease include polyarthritis and glomerulopathy. Serological test results can be used to document exposure to B. burgdorferi but not prove illness. Although serum enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay/indirect fluorescent antibody assay titers can stay positive for months to years after treatment, quantitative C6 peptide antibody paired tests need more study. Serological screening of healthy dogs is controversial because it can lead to overdiagnosis or overtreatment of normal dogs, most of which never develop Lyme disease. However, serological screening can provide seroprevalence and sentinel data and stimulate owner education about tick infections and control. Although it is unknown whether treatment of seropositive healthy dogs is beneficial, the consensus is that seropositive dogs should be evaluated for proteinuria and other coinfections and tick control prescribed. Tick control can include a product that repels or protects against tick attachment, thereby helping to prevent transmission of coinfections as well as Borrelia spp. Seropositive dogs with clinical abnormalities thought to arise from Lyme disease generally are treated with doxycycline (10 mg/kg q24h for 1 month). Proteinuric dogs might need longer treatment as well as medications and diets for protein-losing nephropathy. The ACVIM diplomates believe the use of Lyme vaccines still is controversial and most do not administer them. It is the consensus opinion that additional research is needed to study predictors of illness, "Lyme nephropathy," and coinfections in Lyme endemic areas.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dog Diseases / prevention & control
  • Dogs
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Joint Diseases / etiology
  • Joint Diseases / veterinary
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / veterinary
  • Lyme Disease / complications
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy
  • Lyme Disease / prevention & control
  • Lyme Disease / veterinary*
  • Lyme Disease Vaccines
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Tick Infestations / prevention & control


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Lyme Disease Vaccines
  • Doxycycline