MIAMI – The vocal anti-vax movement in the U.S. doesn’t just stop with people. A new study found many dog owners are skeptical of having their pets vaccinated, even though that puts the animals, and their humans, at risk.
The study, by Boston University’s School of Public Health, found 53 percent of dog owners have some hesitancy toward canine vaccines, seeing them as unsafe, ineffective, or unnecessary.
“My co-authors and I were stunned by how prevalent this phenomenon is,” said Dr. Matt Motta.
Motta said an unvaccinated pet is a danger not just to other animals, but also to the humans around them.
“If there are more unvaccinated dogs out there, the risk of disease transmission grows,” he said.
Almost all states require rabies vaccinations, and there are several other shots that veterinarians recommend for dogs.
“Obviously if you get rabies, if you don’t get treated right away or whatever, you die. Parvo and distemper, for sure, can be fatal,” said veterinarian Dr. Todd Calsyn.
The study also found vaccine misinformation has been projected onto pets as well.
“Nearly two-fifths of dog owners believe that routine vaccines administered to dogs, can cause them to develop autism, which is a fundamentally human diagnosis, not something that we observe in canine populations,” said Motta.
In fact, there is no evidence vaccines cause autism in humans or animals.
According to the American Pet Product Association, about 65 million households in the U.S. own at least one dog.
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