The Telegraph reported that American veterinarians have noticed an increase in people refusing to vaccinate their pets. Shortly after, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) released a statement expressing concern that the pet anti-vax movement could spread.
“There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest autism in dogs or a link between vaccination and autism,” said Gudrun Ravetz, Senior Vice President of the British Veterinary Association. “All medicines have potential side effects but in the case of vaccines these are rare and the benefits of vaccination in protecting against disease far outweigh the potential for an adverse reaction.”
Citing the original 1998 study on the vaccine-autism link that has since been debunked and disproved numerous times, Ravetz explained that “scaremongering can lead to a loss of public confidence in vaccination and knee-jerk reactions that can lead to outbreaks of disease.” She added, “Vaccinations save lives and are an important tool in keeping our pets healthy.”
Not only is refusing vaccinations a risk to the animal’s health, but it’s also a danger to humans. Many of the shots that dogs receive, like those for rabies and hepatitis, also protect humans from contracting those same diseases.
Plus, anti-vaxxers could be breaking the law by leaving their dogs unvaccinated. In the UK, for instance, the BVA explained to The Telegraph, “It is important to remember that under the Animal Welfare Act, pet owners have a duty to protect their animals from pain, injury, suffering and disease. We know of no better, and scientifically proven, way to protect against disease than vaccination.”
The same life-saving benefits of vaccinations apply to humans and are particularly relevant in light of the recent measles outbreak in Washington state.