New research has found that a “majority” of dog owners are forgoing vaccines for their pets, leaving them at risk for rabies and other deadly diseases, The New York Post reported.
The journal Vaccine found that 53 percent of dog owners believe pet vaccines are either unsafe or unnecessary.
Dogs are responsible for 99% of rabies cases worldwide.
The disease is almost always fatal for humans and animals, once symptoms appear.
“Honestly, we were pretty surprised,” Dr. Matt Motta, one of the study’s authors and a political scientist at Boston University’s School of Public Health, told Bloomberg.
“Canine vaccine hesitancy is pervasive,” Motta said.
Rabies — estimated to cause 59,000 human deaths annually — is just one communicable disease that can be prevented by vaccines.
Vaccine hesitancy “is problematic not only because it may inspire vaccine refusal — which may in turn facilitate infectious disease spread in both canine and human populations — but because it may contribute to veterinary care provider mental/physical health risks,” the study authors wrote.
In the latest survey, almost 40% of pet owners were concerned that vaccines could cause dogs to develop autism, an idea that has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked.
Read the full study here.
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