‘Dogs Can’t Get Autism’, Vets Announce

Pop and Locke, Rundown, Science

The British Veterinary Association has advised pet owners that there is no scientific evidence that dogs can develop autism. The Veterinary group said “We are aware of an increase in Anti-Vaccination pet owners in the US who have voiced concerns that vaccinations may lead their dog to develop autism-like behaviour.”

The Anti-Vaxxer movement mistakenly believe that vaccinations can cause autism in humans, and apparently this belief now extends to animals too. The theory originates from a widely discredited and later retracted 1998 study published in a respected British Medical Journal, The Lancet.

The Journal later declared the piece an ‘elaborate fraud’. It became apparent under investigation that the study’s author, Dr Andrew Wakefield, had been contracted to write the study by lawyers hoping to sue vaccine manufacturers. Wakefield and other researchers were unable to reproduce the study’s results in the face of criticism.

The BVA reiterated the sentiment in several tweets, including one in reply to Good Morning Britain as they signalled their intention to host a segment speaking to people who had vaccinated their pets and now believed their pet had ‘canine autism’ as a result.

After the 1998 study was published, vaccination rates of children in Britain dropped sharply. Pet vaccination rates are already down in recent years, according to the PDSA.


This article was originally published in Pop and Locke.

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