If you thought your child was the only one under threat thanks to the growing anti-vaccination movement, think again.
The growing trend of resisting vaccinations is now targeting man’s best friend: our dogs.
The Brooklyn Paper, of New York City, first prompted concerns about pet vaccination after talking to local veterinarians who are facing increasing battles to persuade dog owners to vaccinate.
Dr Amy Ford of the Veterinarian Wellness Centre of Boerum Hill commented that vaccination worries are more prevalent in trendy areas.
“It’s actually much more common in the hipster-y areas,” she told Brooklyn Paper. “I really don’t know what the reasoning is, they just feel that injecting chemicals into their pet is going to cause problems.”
Listen: The Mamamia team argue why even immunised children deserve protection from others. (Post continues after audio.)
Dr Ford wasn’t the only one who has faced vaccination opposition, with Dr Stephanie Liff echoing a similar story.
“I had a client concerned about an autistic child who didn’t want to vaccinate for the same reason,” Dr Liff said.
For decades, anti-vaccinations have spread propaganda, scaring young parents that a needle in your kid’s arm will have them diagnosed with autism. We know this is categorically untrue. Science, not our feelings, tell us that.
Despite the piles of research that disprove anti-vaxx claims, they have somehow managed to infect the heads of pet owners.
Speaking to Brisbane vet, Dr Scott Snellgrove, he confirms they are occasionally questioned over the safety of vaccinations.
“We do get some clients concerned about vaccine potential effects,” he told Mamamia. “Our policy is that as with every medicine a tiny risk of adverse effect is rare, but still possible, and generally hugely outweighed by risk from actual disease itself.”
“Most concerns and website scares when analysed tend to be based on emotion, not fact, as with the human MMR autism scare –since well disproven.”
Some of the posts from the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network.
As is the official position statement of the Australian Veterinary Association, every animal should be immunised.
“Core vaccines should be administered to all animals to protect them against severe, life-threatening diseases that have a global distribution,” the AVA write.
Dr Snellgrove backs up the advice of the AVA, but adding the majority must be vaccinated for it to be effective.
"It is still very important to vaccinate, as well as protecting the individual dog, it greatly reduces the exposure risk to the community. However for this, to be fully effective, a high percentage of the animal population need to be covered.
"Often people adverse to using vaccines have enjoyed all the benefits of other people vaccinating their pets but never experienced the disease first hand."
All vaccinations should be administered with the expert guidance of your pet's vet.
It is noted that vaccines should only be administered as frequently as necessary, which is usually triennially. Some reasonable argument has been voiced about the over-vaccination of some animals. That means, your cats and dogs being vaccinated far too frequently, for the same disease, which has its own health risks.
However, that does not take away from the fundamental need to vaccinate your animal, if not to protect them, then to protect yourself.
Across Australia in the human population, we have seen preventable diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, at epidemic proportions.
According to the Council of Foreign Relations, there were 13,167 recorded cases of whooping cough in Australia in 2011, as well as 89 reported cases of measles in Sydney during 2012.
The truth is, whooping cough, measles and other preventable diseases, had been virtually eliminated worldwide, but a sudden surge in unvaccinated individuals has made them a real threat.
All information is not equal in weight. Talk to your vet. They want your dog to live a long, happy and healthy life too.