The number of cases of Autism-Spectrum Disorder is a rising concern for parents and for society. Stats are now saying that 1 in 60 children will be diagnosed with autism. And that stat is moving towards even more frequent occurrences in the future.
Now pet owners and some veterinarians are beginning to notice ASD issues in vaccinated pets. Could there be a relationship? Can dogs be officially diagnosed with autism?
Autism Behaviors Shown In Dogs
Over 50 years of observations have shown that pets, mainly dogs, can display behaviors consistent with autism. Nicholas Dodman, DVM, was one of the first experts of find consistencies when he studied bull terriers who obsessively chase their tales. His book, Pets On The Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, And The New Science Of Pet Psychiatry, put the world on notice that dogs can indeed, show symptoms of autism.
Easily digestible even for those unfamiliar with medical jargon… incorporates all types of perspectives on the subject to keep the material light and interesting… Filled with heartfelt case studies of autistic dogs, cats with Alzheimer’s disease, and horses with Tourette syndrome, among others, Dodman injects empathy into a world where sympathy previously reigned.” (Publishers Weekly)
At the 2015 American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Dodman put his evidence on display for the world to see: “the vast majority of affected dogs were males, and many had other strange behaviors or physical conditions that accompanied the tail chasing, such as explosive aggression, partial seizures, phobias, skin conditions, gastrointestinal issues, object fixation and a tendency to shy away from people and other dogs.”
Dodman showed the two biomarkers in autistic children were often present in dogs, according to an article in Psychology Today.
There was also a loose association with fears and phobias and partial seizure-like behavior. Could the condition be a canine form of autism, we thought, because all these features are shared by children on the autistic spectrum?
A post-hoc study of a large cohort of these dogs showed that they we regarded by their owners as asocial – affected dogs significantly more so that their unaffected peers – and that they had a profound fixation with ojects (an obsession, if you will). Again, both features of autism. When we tried to publish the canine autism look-alike version of autism, we were rebuffed by the first journal. “Just because it looks like autism doesn’t mean that it is,” was the gist of their rebuttal.
Here are the two biomarkers that show proof of the connection.
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Linking up with a medical researcher specializing in autism, he told us that a peptide called neurotensin (NT) was elevated in autism. That and corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH). So we blood sampled a number of tail chasing bull terriers and control and found, sure enough, that levels of NT and CRH were elevated in affected dogs. Now we were able to publish our results in a journal called Translational Psychiatry.
Many of these dogs also showed significant skin issues and gastrointestinal disturbances. For any parent of an autistic child, that likely sounds extremely familiar.
Many veterinarians do notice behavioral changes in dogs following vaccines, including the ones listed above. The rabies vaccine seems to be ground zero when it comes to side-effects. This vaccine needs to be given every 3 years (or more frequently depending on the state) even though blood tests often confirm the dogs hold the immunity of one rabies shot for a lifetime. The states do not allow this to be submitted as proof. Many dogs experience a loss in emotional connections to owners and aggressive, relentless barking following a rabies shot.
So while no “science” has confirmed the existence of dog autism related to vaccines, it sure seems that the anecdotal evidence is building up. It would also seem those pet vaccines are an extremely large revenue driver for pharma. Below is a graph from ahi.com. It does include pigs and cattle as well as dogs and cats, but the trend is undeniable.
Follow the money, they say, and you shall figure out the truth. It seems in this case, the evidence is mounting that we may have an issue with pets and vaccines.