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Are dog vaccinations necessary? Study found majority of pet owners are skeptical but experts say it can be lifesaving – CBS News

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/ CBS Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The vocal anti-vax movement in the U.S. doesn’t stop with people. A new study found many dog owners are skeptical of having their pet vaccinated, but what do vets recommend?
Experts said vaccines for dogs are safe, effective and necessary. Specifically when it comes to things like rabies and parvovirus, they can be lifesaving.
Sinjin Chun is confident his dog Koby is safe as he plays with other pets because he has had his shots.
“I understand the public has hesitancy around vaccines in general but as far as dogs go, I think it’s pretty necessary,” Chun said. “Dogs are just a lot dirtier than we are and they can pick up a lot of different things, and if they’re spreading those things around, it’s not good.”
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However, Koby may be in the minority.
A study from Boston University’s School of Public Health found that 53% of dog owners have some hesitancy about canine vaccines, and see them as unsafe, ineffective, or unnecessary.
“My co-authors and I were stunned by how prevalent this phenomenon is,” said Dr. Matt Motta, with the Boston University School of Public Health.
Experts said an unvaccinated pet is a danger, not just to other animals, but also to the humans around them.
“If there are more unvaccinated dogs out there, the risk of disease transmission grows,” Dr. Motta said.
Almost all states require rabies vaccinations, and there are several other shots that veterinarians recommend for dogs.
“Obviously, if you get rabies — if you don’t get treated right away or whatever — you die. Parvo and distemper, for sure, can be fatal,” said veterinarian, Dr. Todd Calsyn.
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The study also found vaccine misinformation about humans has been projected onto pets as well.
“One of the things that we documented in our study is that two-fifths of dog owners believe routine vaccines administered to dogs can cause them to develop autism, which is a fundamentally human diagnosis — not something that we observe in canine populations,” Dr. Motta said.
Researchers said there is no evidence vaccines cause autism in humans or animals.
Most states require domestic dogs to have a rabies vaccine and several others are also recommended. With an estimated 65 million households having at least one dog, it’s a pet health concern for a lot of Americans.
Stephanie Stahl is an Emmy Award-winning health reporter. She can be seen daily on CBS News Philadelphia and Philly57.
First published on September 27, 2023 / 6:37 PM EDT
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