Dog owners resist vaccination rules over fears of autism

CLINTON HILL, Brooklyn (WPIX) — The anti-immunization fervor began with questionable data stating vaccines can cause autism in kids. It's already an explosive and emotional debate when it comes to children.

The rejection of vaccines is now spreading to dog owners in New York City and elsewhere.

"The AVMA, which is our governing body, is facing this nationwide with people not wanting to vaccinate or vaccinate so frequently or finding other means," Dr. Stephanie Liff, medical director of Pure Paws Veterinary Care of Clinton Hill, said.

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Some dog owners resist vaccination rules
A New York City veterinarian says she has seen an increase at her practice of people hesitant to vaccinate their pups despite the lack of evidence they can cause autism in dogs.
A New York City veterinarian says she has seen an increase at her practice of people hesitant to vaccinate their pups despite the lack of evidence they can cause autism in dogs.
A New York City veterinarian says she has seen an increase at her practice of people hesitant to vaccinate their pups despite the lack of evidence they can cause autism in dogs.
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Liff said she has seen an increase at her practice of people hesitant to vaccinate their pups or have questions about the safety of or need for vaccines.

"People don't want to put chemicals into their dogs," Liff said. "The vaccines aren't that pure. They have additives that can be toxic. Then, some people feel they are transcending on some other trends against vaccinating things, like autism."

Liff said there is no research to suggest that autism exists in dogs.

But it is a New York State mandate that your dog must get the rabies vaccine. Vaccines for distemper and parvo are also recommended.

While Liff understands the concerns of anti-vaxxers, she encourages her patients to get protected. For those pet owners who still will not vaccinate their dogs, it is about managing the dog's lifestyle to limit their risk.

"They walk outside with no shoes on. They nose around in dirt and chase wild animals, and they drink standing water and eat fecal material. Their exposure is higher than some people think," Liff said.

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