Anti-vaxxer movement spreads to doggo parents

The anti-vaccine movement is alive and well and has, apparently, spread to parents of fur-babies.

Fearing autism and other potential vaccine side effects, people in parts of Brooklyn are not vaccinating their dogs, according to a Brooklyn Paper article.

“We do see a higher number of clients who don’t want to vaccinate their animals,” Dr. Amy Ford of the Veterinarian Wellness Center of Boerum Hill told Brooklyn Paper. “This may be stemming from the anti-vaccine movement, which people are applying to their pets.”

Veterinarians recommend a handful of vaccines for dogs to protect against diseases like rabies (which can be spread to humans), parvo, canine distemper, leptospirosis and bordetellosis (kennel cough).

But some people are taking their chances with rabies and parvo, rather than vaccinate their pet.

“It’s actually much more common in the hipster-y areas,” Ford said. “I really don’t know what the reasoning is, they just feel that injecting chemicals into their pet is going to cause problems.”

Like a segment of parents of human children, some parents of four-legged children are foregoing the vaccines, fearing they could cause autism.

Seriously. They worry about autism. In dogs.

“I had a client concerned about an autistic child who didn’t want to vaccinate the dog for the same reason,” Dr. Stephanie Liff of Clinton Hill’s Pure Paws Veterinary Care told Brooklyn Paper. “We’ve never diagnosed autism in a dog. I don’t think you could.”

Still, the Brooklyn veterinarians aren’t even surprised by the trend.

“Most trends in veterinary medicine are extensions of human medicine, so I think the anti-vaccination movement extending into veterinary medicine is natural,” Liff said.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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