While there are a number of reasons owners didn’t vaccinate their pets,according to a new survey the majority thought it wasn’t necessary andexpensive.

Dogs can’t get autism, and even if they could, vaccines couldn’t cause it.Period. But some anti-vaxxers are increasingly making the same unfoundedclaims about pets and vaccines they’ve been repeating about children andvaccines for the past 20 years: that vaccines are unnecessary, dangerous andthat they can cause a form of (canine) autism, along with other diseases. Justas with kids, that may be driving down pet vaccination rates. And themovement, while niche, shows no sign of stopping; in some states in the U.S.,anti-vax activists have recently agitated to make state laws about mandatorypet vaccinations more lax.

The problem is acute in the United Kingdom. In its most recent annual report,Britain’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) surveyed more than than4,600 pet owners and found that in 2018, about 25% of dogs—2.2 million ofthem—had not had their necessary vaccinations when they were young. That’sroughly on par with rates last year, which had jumped significantly. The mostcommon reason people gave for not vaccinating their dog—accounting for 20% ofresponses—was that “it’s not necessary.”

Whatever the justification, every owner who does not vaccinate a dogcontributes to endangering a great many other dogs too. “[T]he figures forpets not receiving primary vaccinations and regular boosters may threatenpopulation-level immunity,” the authors wrote in the report.

The numbers are also high for other pets; 35% of cat owners did not have theirkittens vaccinated, and 41% of older cats hadn’t received their regularboosters. Almost half of pet rabbits had not been vaccinated when they wereyoung.

These increasing trend lines are consistent with what has happened with humanvaccine rates after the thoroughly debunked rumors that vaccines can causeautism began (and rates of unvaccinated children have spiked). Indeed, thefear of “canine autism”—which, again, does not exist—could be contributing tovaccination refusals. In April 2018, Gudrun Ravetz, Senior Vice President ofthe British Veterinary Association (BVA), issued a statement debunking thelink between pet vaccinations and autism after a British morning show stokedfears of this link on social media.

“There is currently no reliable scientific evidence to indicate autism in dogsor a link between vaccination and autism,” she said. “Vaccinations save livesand are an important tool in keeping our pets healthy.”

Source: US Fox News

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