PET owners are reportedly refusing to get their animals vaccinated over fears they will become autistic as the amount of “anti-fax” material booms online.
The RSPCA have issued a stark warning that the boom in online material is driving pet owners to skip potentially life saving vaccines for their cats and dogs.
Alamy It is typically younger owners that are refusing to have their pets vaccinated
Figures from the UK show recent years have seen a massive dip in the number of pets vaccinated, and the British Veterinary Association has even been forced to deny dogs can get autism.
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) charity say a quarter of dog owners now say their pet hasn’t had any vaccines when they’re puppies – equating to 2.2 million dogs being left open to horrible diseases.
There does seem to be an increasing amount of “anti-vax” material online, this is not supported by a genuine evidence base.RSPCA veterinary director Caroline Allen
RSPCA veterinary director Caroline Allen told the Sun Online: “There does seem to be an increasing amount of ‘anti-vax’ material online, this is not supported by a genuine evidence base.
“There is real concern that we will see an increase in the frequency of these serious and preventable diseases, with resulting animal suffering, if the number of vaccinated animals falls.
US vets also say pet owners are increasingly skipping vaccines for the likes of parvovirus, adenovirus and distemper because of it.
Experts say the trend is seriously worry given dogs and cats spend more time outdoors, and around potential spreading agents like mud and faeces.
Over the last 10 or 15 years, there has been an increase in mostly unfounded concerns about vaccine safetyBrennan McKenzie, practitioner at California’s Adobe Animal hospital
Animal welfare charity Blue Cross says two of the vaccines commonly skipped – parvovirus, a virus that attacks cells in a dog’s intestines, and distemper, which is basically canine to measles – can both be fatal to dogs.
Practitioner at California’s Adobe Animal hospital, Brennan McKenzie, told the American Veterinarian.
He said: “Over the last 10 or 15 years, there has been an increase in mostly unfounded concerns about vaccine safety for people.
“That, I think, has raised people’s awareness and level of concern about vaccinations for their pets.”
Where did the anti-vaxxer movement come from?
There have always been those who shun scientific evidence in preferance for hyperbole, but in recent years the number of anti-vaxxers have ramped up.
The modern anti-vaxxer movement began in 1998 when The Lancet published a story that there was a group of parents who brought 12 children to a hospital in North London for the MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine and within 14 days, eight of the families said their child had developed the first signs of autism.
The man who performed the research was eventually found guilty of serious professional misconduct and struck from the medical register after his research was found to be misleading.
Despite this there was public panic, and before long, there was the first measles death in the UK for years.
Although no other research has even found a link between MMR and autism, that hasn’t stopped anti-vaxxers.
The World Health Organisation reported a boom in measles cases due to gaps in vaccine coverage, with an estimated 110 000 deaths in 2017.
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There is no medical evidence to suggest a link between vaccinations and autism, whether with humans or with animals.
Vaccines are not legally required for pets in the UK, although most animal welfare groups recommend it.
Rabies vaccines are required for any UK pet being taken overseas.
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