The British Veterinary Association, which represents thousands of practitioners in the United Kingdom, felt compelled to hop onto Twitter last week to issue a notable statement: “There’s currently no reliable scientific evidence to indicate autism in dogs (or its link to vaccines),” the group wrote.
The tweet came in response to a widely condemned call-out from the television show “Good Morning Britain” for interviews with pet owners who believe their dogs developed “canine autism” as a result of vaccines or who refuse routine shots over worries about side effects. But the association also suggested its response had roots across the Atlantic: “We are aware of an increase in anti-vaccination pet owners in the U.S.,” it said, “who have voiced concerns that vaccinations may lead to their dogs developing autism-like behavior.”
Has the anti-vaccine movement, which has fueled measles outbreaks in recent years, spread to American pets?
Not exactly, according to major veterinary groups in this country. John de Jong, a Boston-area veterinarian and incoming president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said his organization firmly agrees with its British counterpart: There’s no evidence for autism in dogs or any link to vaccines — a theory that has been thoroughly discredited in humans. But he also said he has never been asked by a client about this notion, nor does he know of other veterinarians who have.Actually, as previous posts noted, this silly idea does have a toehold in the United States. Alas.