1. MikeG

    MikeG Senior Member

    One offshoot of the anti-vaccination movement involves people who believe inoculations are causing their pets an animal version of autism.

    A closer look at this belief reveals a series of correlations linking recent genetic research to a series of misguided assumptions and non-existent studies.

    The Brooklyn Paper featured this story last week.

    Not a shot! Anti-vax movement prompts Brooklynites to withhold inoculations from their pets, vets say

    A number of people refusing to vaccinate their pets are more specific:


    There wasn’t much more explaining the reasoning behind this belief, so I poked around a little and found the pet autism idea on a few websites, which offered more information on the trend.

    One of them, The Vaccine Reaction, featured an article that attempted to make the correlation between pet vaccinations and pet autism.

    Kate Raines wrote “Autism Symptoms in Pets Rise as Pet Vaccination Rates Rise,” for The Vaccine Reaction in April 2017 and it is a fairly subtle attempt (at least as far as these websites go).

    I’ll stick to the main points:


    Part of this is true. Bull terriers do have a notable tendency to chase their tails. And research has focused on potential genetic markers that may cause the behavior. I am including the Dodman article here.

    But a couple of caveats seem to be in order. An “autism-like condition” covers a lot of ground and does not mean autism. Also, and I am not a scientist, but even if genetic markers are similar, I would have to say that human and canine brain physiology and chemistry are very different.


    The last sentence comes from a very short article on dog autism symptoms from the website Vetinfo. It does not cite any studies that link pet vaccines and autism.

    It is also interesting that the lack of evidence did not stop Kate Raines from moving from “autism-like” to straight out autism in her article.


    The source cited for “adverse reactions” comes from the National Vaccine Information Center, which is a noted anti-vax organization.

    In contrast, the American Medical Veterinary Association does not recognize behavioral changes as a possible adverse reaction to vaccination. It does offer a long list of physical problems that may result from getting your pet inoculated.

    Lastly, the link between rabies and behavioral changes comes from another website, this time EnlightenMe. The article on the website makes no mention of any behavioral problems caused by the rabies vaccine.
    Is the 3 Year Rabies Vaccine for Pets Different From the Yearly Vaccine?
  2. Ph_

    Ph_ Closed Account

    Some autism-like conditions in humans are personality disorders, which have to be considered first before any diagnosis for autism can be done.

    ETS Policy Statement for Documentation of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adolescents and Adults page 7
    Furthermore, 2 of the 20+ suspected genetic markers is not much.

    I think someone just thought that title sounded more spectacular and others ran with it.

    (edit:spelling corrected, source added)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017