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Vaccines Don't Cause Autism In Dogs: Veterinarians Respond To New Anti-Vaxx Fears

  • 22/07/2020

A British morning talk show's tweet regarding dog vaccination fears turns the anti-vaccine conversation to dogs. Though there is existing research on the matter, the information is not nearly substantial to cause worry among pet owners.

Tweet Gone Wrong

On April 24, British talk show Good Morning Britain sent out a Tweet calling on pet owners who decided not to vaccinate their dogs in fear of the possible side effects as well as pet owners who did vaccinate but believe their dogs now have canine autism.

While the conversation regarding anti-vaccine fears is not new, the tweet still did not fare well with many members of the public as well as the British Veterinary Association (BVA), as the organization immediately responded, stating the lack of scientific evidence to back up the claim.

There's currently no reliable scientific evidence to indicate autism in dogs (or its link to vaccines). Potential side effects of vaccines are rare & outweighed by the benefits in protecting against disease. BVA would be happy to provide evidence-based information on the issue — BVA (@BritishVets) April 24, 2018

Further, BVA Senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz released a statement to reiterate the previous message, as well as to warn the public of the potential dangers of fearing the very vaccinations that can actually save lives.

"Vaccinations save lives and are an important tool in keeping our pets healthy. We know from the example of the MMR vaccine and its now disproven link to autism in children that scaremongering can lead to a loss of public confidence in vaccination and knee-jerk reactions that can lead to outbreaks of disease," said Ravetz.

Vaccine Fears

Even the National Autistic Society tweeted in response to Good Morning Britain's tweet.

Evidently, even in the United States, there are pet owners who have become hesitant to vaccinate their pets because of autism-related fears. This could prove problematic, as vaccines may prevent potentially deadly diseases such as distemper, rabies, and parvo. This does not just place the dog's own health in jeopardy, but it can also lead to disease outbreaks.

Canine Autism

As early as 1966, veterinarians have talked about autism-like behaviour among dogs. In fact, a 2015 presentation that involved 132 Bull Terriers associated tail-chasing with trance-like behaviour and episodic aggression, suggesting that the act may be linked to autism.

However, experts believe that the understanding of typical and atypical canine behaviour is much too limited to come to the said conclusion, particularly when the understanding of supposed canine autism is based on autism in humans.

So far, there is no evidence to suggest the presence of autism in dogs or even a potential link to vaccines.

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