The Guardian – Sam Kovac can’t say for sure what prompted it, but in the past few weeks the Sydney veterinarian has been faced with the same alarming, beguiling question over and over:
“Will this vaccination give my dog autism?”
He tells Guardian Australia:
“It’s actually ridiculous. I mean you hear chatter over the years, but just in these last few weeks it’s really, really ramped up.”
“Most of the time people are OK, they’re not staunchly against it once you tell them the science and the statistics.
“[But] we have had people walk out in hysteria, saying that there is absolutely no way their dog is getting [vaccinated] because they believe it causes auto-immune diseases or, specifically, autism.”
Kovac is so perturbed by the trend that he felt moved to speak out about it in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph this week, saying he didn’t believe anti-vaxxers deserved to have animals as pets if they were willing to put them at risk of diseases such as canine parvovirus.
“They are sentencing their dog to death from one of the most shocking, horrible viruses you can imagine,” he says.
“If a disease as contagious, as horrific and with a high mortality rate as parvovirus existed for humans, this conversation would be so different.”
Vaccinations do not cause autism in dogs or humans. But there is an important distinction: there is no such thing as autism in dogs.
“Well, there are certainly no recorded cases of animals with the condition that I know of,” Kovac says. “And there is no diagnostic test to check for it in dogs or cats anyway.”
The amplification of the anti-vaccination movement in online communities and its association with the rise of populism and anti-establishment politics has been well documented …
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