It is important to understand that a positive test indicates that a dog has become infected by the Lyme organism. It does not mean that the pet has Lyme disease. Many dogs will become infected without showing any signs of illness. In a recent study (2005), completed by Dr. Jacobsen at Cornell University, he found that 63% of experimentally infected dogs had clinical disease and almost all infected dogs in this study had microscopic evidence of polyarthritis. These numbers are alarming and are higher than researchers have reported in the past.
The risk of Lyme disease varies with each pet's life style and the incidence of Lyme disease in their area. Pets that spend a lot of time outside in tall grass or wooded areas are at increased risk. Pets that travel to high incidence areas are certainly at increased risk.
Vaccines are available for use in dogs. Lyme vaccines vary in the way they are designed. It is important to discuss vaccination with your veterinarian and to understand the type of vaccine your veterinarian recommends.