In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism
“We do see a higher number of clients who don’t want to vaccinate their animals,” said Dr. Amy Ford of the Veterinarian Wellness Center of Boerum Hill. “This may be stemming from the anti-vaccine movement, which people are now applying to their pets.”
The increased skepticism towards inoculating pets is likely the result of a national movement that claims vaccines can cause autism in children, according to the doctor, who said she has seen an increase in clients unwilling to have their dogs vaccinated in recent years. Core vaccines for canines include distemper, hepatitis, and rabies, which is required by law.
Hip youngsters who promote a more holistic lifestyle for their pets tend to be the most vocal anti-vaxxers, Ford said, but rarely have a particular reason for leaving Fido open to infection.
“It’s actually much more common in the hipster-y areas,” she said. “I really don’t know what the reasoning is, they just feel that injecting chemicals into their pet is going to cause problems.”
A Clinton Hill–based veterinarian, however, said she has heard clients suggest the inoculations could give their pups autism, echoing the argument of those who oppose vaccinating kids. But even if pooches were susceptible to the condition, their owners probably wouldn’t notice, according to the doctor.
“I had a client concerned about an autistic child who didn’t want to vaccinate the dog for the same reason,” said Dr. Stephanie Liff of Clinton Hill’s Pure Paws Veterinary Care. “We’ve never diagnosed autism in a dog. I don’t think you could.”