BOSTON - The vocal anti-vax movement in the United States doesn't stop with people. New research suggests a majority of dog owners are skeptical of having their pet vaccinated, even though that puts the animal, and their humans, at risk.
The study from Boston University's School of Public Health found 53% of dog owners have some hesitancy toward canine vaccines. Of that group, 37% see them as unsafe, 22% as ineffective, and 30% as unnecessary.
Sinjin Chun of Long Beach, CA is not one of them. His dog Kobe has all his shots.
"I think it's pretty necessary," Sinjin said. "Dogs are just a lot dirtier than we are, and they can pick up a lot of different things. And if they're spreading those things around, it's not good."
According to the American Pet Product Association, about 65 million households in the U.S. own at least one dog.
STUDY RESULTS A SURPRISE TO THE AUTHORS
The co-authors of the study say they were "stunned" at the results.
Dr. Matt Motta says an unvaccinated pet is a danger not just to other animals, but also to the humans around them.
"We knew that Canine Vaccine Hesitancy existed because of our anecdotal and lived experiences," Motta said. "We didn't know how pervasive it was."
Almost all states require rabies vaccinations, and there are several other shots that veterinarians recommend for dogs.
THE RISKS OF NOT VACCINATING PETS
"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," explained Dr. Todd Calsyn, a veterinarian at Laurel Pet Hospital in West Hollywood, California.
The study also found vaccine misinformation has been projected onto pets as well.
According to Dr. Motta, "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."
Experts say there is no evidence vaccines cause autism - in humans or animals.
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