Pediatricians are used to having to deal with anti-vax parents looking to skip life-saving childhood vaccinations or set up their own vaccination schedules. Parents are nervous people. The anti-vax movement is strong and loud. Parents are naturally concerned when they hear that vaccinations can cause disorders like autism. (They don’t, but that hasn’t stopped anything.) But now the idiocy has spread over to pet parents, and pet anti-vaccination is a thing. People are refusing to vaccinate their dogs against things like distemper, hepatitis, kennel cough, and rabies, because the anti-vax movement has convinced them vaccines are bad.

What do these people think is going to happen? Are they worried their dog is going to get dog autism?

That sounds like a joke, but unfortunately it is true. People really are skipping rabies and distemper vaccinations because they’re afraid of dog autism. One veterinarian in Brooklyn says she really is seeing people reject vaccinations because they don’t want their dogs to get autism, even though she–a veterinarian–has no idea what dog autism would even look like.

“We’ve never diagnosed autism in a dog. I don’t think you could,” said Dr. Stephanie Liff of Clinton Hill’s Pure Paws Veterinary Care to Brooklyn Paper’s Colin Mixson. She said one of her clients really had refused vaccines because of fears of dog autism.

According to Brooklyn Paper, veterinarians in Brooklyn say an increasing number of pet owners are refusing vaccinations, even though rabies vaccines are required by law.

Rabies vaccines might be the law, but if a pet anti-vaccination person didn’t want the rabies vaccine, she could just not take the dog to the vet. Nobody would ever know.

“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.”

Medical trends trickle from people to pets.

“It’s actually much more common in the hipster-y areas,” Dr. Ford said. “I really don’t know what the reasoning is, they just feel that injecting chemicals into their pet is going to cause problems.”

Pets need vaccinations to protect them from other dogs, random animals, and all the dumb shit they eat during the course of a week. A dog’s favorite thing to do is eat cat poop and roll around in dead things. Dogs really need to be vaccinated. You can rub coconut oil on them too, if you want to, but they need vaccinations.

Vaccines don’t cause autism. They save lives and protect people. Vaccinate your pets! And also your children!

(Image: iStockPhoto / KPGS)