Maybe Leave Dogs Out of This Anti-Vaccine Nonsense

By Tom McKay on at

Vaccines are good. Dogs are good—in fact, very very good, aren’t you girl?

Unfortunately, some bad owners who have bought into scientifically unsupported anti-vaccine propaganda have begun choosing not to vaccinate their dogs, fearing that choosing to properly inoculate their canines will give them dog autism, the Daily Beast reported .

Dog autism, of course, is not really a thing.

“We see a higher number of clients who don’t want to vaccinate their animals,” the Veterinarian Wellness Center of Boerum Hill, New York’s Dr. Amy Ford told the Brooklyn Paper. “This may be stemming from the anti-vaccine movement, which people are applying to their pets.”

“I had a client concerned about an autistic child who didn’t want to vaccinate the dog for the same reason,”added Dr. Stephanie Liff, who works for Clinton Hill’s Pure Paws Veterinary Care. “We’ve never diagnosed autism in a dog. I don’t think you could.”

According to PetMD, research since 1966 has theorised that conditions resembling autism are definitely possible for man’s best friend. But PetMD noted that it’s very difficult to translate a complex psychological condition in humans to a direct doggie equivalent—and “a number of other difficult-to-diagnose canine conditions (e.g., anxiety disorders and pain) can cause clinical signs similar to those associated with autism.”

A dog with autism might require different behavioral management strategies than other dogs, PetMD noted, but this would mostly extend to helping the dog avoid whatever triggers atypical behaviour or identifying activities which will reduce its stress.

“For instance, if your dog becomes fearful and aggressive when approached by strangers at the dog park, don’t go to the dog park,” PetMD wrote. “A walk down a quiet trail is a better option.”

But this is all somewhat beside the point, since the scientific community is very clear there is no link whatsoever between vaccination and autism—and the whole ant-vaccine movement is deeply rooted in senseless and offensive stigmatisation and fear-mongering. The idea of subjecting your poor good boy or girl to the risk of preventable illnesses like rabies, which will definitely kill your dog, because of something Jenny McCarthy or discredited scientist Andrew Wakefield said is deeply sad.

They’re good dogs Brent.

While a few anecdotes does not a widespread social trend make, it’s probably best this one gets nipped in the bud. [Brooklyn Paper via the Daily Beast]


More Science Posts: