Vaccines

Crazy Pet Anti-Vaxxers Provoke My Canine Lyme Disease Vaccine Envy

Lyme disease vaccine has been available for dogs since the 1990s; humans may get it next year.

|

DogVaccineOcskayMarkDreamstime
Ocskay Mark/Dreamstime

Admittedly it sounds like a spoof or a plot from the TV comedy Portlandia, but the the Brooklyn Paper is reporting that local veterinarians have noticed anti-vax madness has taken hold among Brooklynite hipsters who are refusing to get their dogs and cats inoculated. From the article:

Some Brooklynites are refusing to vaccinate their pets against virulent and potentially deadly illnesses — some of which could spread to humans — thanks to a growing movement against the life-saving inoculations, according to borough veterinarians.

"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 applying to their pets." …

A Clinton Hill–based veterinarian said she has heard clients suggest the inoculations could give their pups autism, however, echoing the argument of those who oppose vaccinating kids. But even if pooches were susceptible to the condition, their owners probably wouldn't notice, according to the doctor.

Let's say it one more time: Numerous studies have debunked the claim that autism is linked to vaccinations.

Brooklyn anti-vaxxers should be wary of allowing their pets to romp across the fields and dunes in the Hamptons since the number of Lyme disease carrying ticks has exploded on Long Island this summer. The ticks that latch onto dogs can move along to their owners.

The Brooklyn Paper story, however, reminded me pooches do have access to effective vaccinations against Lyme disease while people do not. The one time I was infected from a tick-bite acquired while mowing the grass at my Blue Ridge cabin, I noticed the disease's characteristic bull's-eye rash and immediately got dosed with antibiotics. Looking back, I should have been inoculated with the human version when it was available between 1998 and 2002.

Although there were complaints of adverse reactions, follow-on research found that they were no more frequent or dangerous than those associated with other vaccines. Of course, I didn't know then its manufacturer would decide to withdraw the vaccine in the face of a class action lawsuit motivated by anti-vaccine fearmongering. The suit settled in 2003 and the plaintiffs got no compensation. Since the vaccine was withdrawn, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease every year. Thanks a lot, anti-vaxxers!

The good news is that the Food and Drug Administration is apparently fast-tracking a new human Lyme disease vaccine from the European biotech company Valneva. It could be approved as early as next year. This time, I won't dilly-dally about getting inoculated.

Advertisement

NEXT: Will All Seriously Ill Americans Be Granted the 'Right to Try' Experimental Meds?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. A Clinton Hill?based veterinarian said she has heard clients suggest the inoculations could give their pups autism

    Yes. Dogs with autism. That’s totally a thing.

    1. In a surprising reversal, it turns out that all dogs are actually autistic and vaccinations reverse it in their tiny little pea brains!

      Science!

      I mean, honestly, why not? These people are nuts, they’d probably believe it.

    2. Honestly, I just applied the thought to my puppy and it explains a lot…

  2. “Brooklyn Paper is reporting that local veterinarians have noticed anti-vax madness has taken hold among Brooklynite hipsters who are refusing to get their dogs and cats inoculated”

    Why hasn’t Brooklyn been burned to the ground and its inhabitants pushed out to sea yet?

    1. They tried that once. It didn’t take.

      1. It’s like WakaWaka’s never even seen Gangs of New York.

        1. Scorsese’s worst film. Just had to add that.

          1. Seconded. An embarrassment for all involved.

            1. I loved it. The best part was when Abe Lincoln was on stage & somebody else got shot in the audience. Seems they were taking turns.

  3. Admittedly it sounds like a spoof or a plot from the TV comedy Portlandia, but the the Brooklyn Paper is reporting that local veterinarians have noticed anti-vax madness has taken hold among Brooklynite hipsters who are refusing to get their dogs and cats inoculated. From the article:

    Serious question: Did they participate in the March for Science?

    1. They participated in the March For That Science That Validates Our Narrative.

  4. The good news is that the Food and Drug Administration is apparently fast-tracking a new human Lyme disease vaccine

    RIP my, “hey baby, lemme check you for ticks,” move. Sad.

    1. What’re fleas and leeches, chopped liver?

      1. You’d be surprised how many of Crusty’s dates actually do end up with leeches everywhere. Actually, maybe you wouldn’t.

      2. Here in Lyme Ground Zero tick checks are mandatory, if you know what I mean.

        1. Crusty always puts a black dot on his taint with a Sharpie before each date, just in case things go well.

    2. I wish I were a chick magnet. Instead I’m a tick magnet. I moved from the Bronx to Sussex Co. NJ, and my 1st summer here I’m getting ticks on me frequently?even here in my room after I’ve put on machine washed & dried clothes, showered & everything. Sometimes I find them before they bite.

  5. Canine Lyme Disease Vaccine Envy

    A little-known phenomenon Freud only briefly touched on in later editions of Civilization and Its Discontents.

  6. I’m curious how much of this “pet anti-vaxxer” movement really is idiot hipsters worried about autism. It seems just as likely that people simply choose not to pay the extra medical costs for animals. It would be a smart move by veterinarians to create a narrative in the media of crazy people not taking care of their poor animals.

    1. That’s definitely a worthwhile question to ask. But for those of us that live in bluer-than-blue-found-in-nature-blue places, I can tell you that this shit is surprisingly common, and the way some of these white folks treat their dogs? Yeah, it’s all organic this, and gmo-free that and appointments with the Animal Comminicator.

      BTW, if you don’t click through the link, that’s $90 for a 60 minute session of telepathic communication with your weimaraner.

      1. I clicked through the link and that’s totally not what it is, unless “Animal Comminicators” are also loopers.

        1. Offering Personalized Flower Essence combinations.
          Made specifically to address your animals’ needs.
          Excellent for behavior, emotional, and health issues.

          Oh yes… OH YES BABY!

        2. Can’t say i have any problem with someone making money off of stupid people who have a lot of it.

      2. Even here in rural Kansas people can be pretty crazy when it comes to their pets. The vet tech where we take our family dog and cat looked at me like I’m a horrible person when I chose not to have our Dog’s teeth cleaned for $130.

        1. Even here in rural Kansas people can be pretty crazy when it comes to their pets

          Stop appropriating coastal elitism, flyover country!

        2. Only $130? Price somewhere between $300-400 in the Boulder-Denver area. Also recommended it be done twice a year!

          Ah, the beauty of the free market.

        3. $400 – $500 in the Boston burbs, once you include all the extras. But the vet thought that with a reasonable diet and occasional brushing, it might be every 3 – 5 years.

      3. $90 an hour? Wow, I really wasted all that cash on my degree…

      4. Also, the people who make their cat adopt their veganism. Seriously, that’s horrible to do to a carnivorous animal.

        Cats > trendy brooklynites

        1. One time mtrueman told me that i was “underestimating” cats by saying they couldn’t do well on a vegetarian diet. I was all, dude, that’s not underestimating a cat, that’s knowing what a cat is.

          1. I don’t even know how you argue at that point. You just have to accept that some folks made up their minds.

      5. I don’t need to spend jack to know what my dachshund is thinking. “Is it time to eat yet? Is it time to eat yet? Is it time to eat yet? I have to poop. Is it time to eat yet?”

    2. Getting the basic vaccines for a pet is not very expensive. At least get rabies and Lyme vaccines.

      Some people will get animals and never take them to the vet at all. But I don’t think that the vets are noticing that.

      1. I have no problem at all with people deciding not to take their pets to the vet if they so choose, as long as they’re still treated humanely.

    3. I would say very little. People are just sick of $450 regular checkups and don’t want to pay extra for vaxes that don’t protect against things their dogs will never be exposed such as Leptospirosis and Bordetella or vaxes that are given to frequently like rabies. Vets have to start caring us into getting them. Much like the people flu vaccine. I have never been told once by a health professional to get it (and I have on-going health issues) but the 16 year-old cashier at HEB has told me how important it is for my health.

    1. I propose government subsidies for giga-pets to combat this world existential crisis.

    2. The most idiotic thing is the trend to “grain-free” dog food. As if chicken-flavored corn kibble is going to be bad for an omnivore, and Fluffy only deserves the best.

      1. Dogs aren’t obligate carnivores like cats, but they are primarily carnivorous, and some do have problems digesting grain – my dog had pretty bad problems with allergies and gas (although that was admittedly more a problem for us) until we switched him to a corn-free food.

        Of course, he also eats a lot of literal shit, so who even knows what his true nutritional needs are.

        1. I have had many clients switch to either grain free or raw and improvements are incredible. Dogs that have been on several meds regularly (mostly for skin and ear issues) have been able to stop taking them. The fur color sometimes deepens and the body composition changes drastically.

          And FYI- shit has a lot of animal protein in it.

      2. I’ll echo the others. Grain makes my dog break out in spots and itch incessantly. We have to go to the more expensive grain free foods or have the dog live on Benadryl.

  7. Why don’t you dose yourself with thalidomide, too, while you’re at it, Bailey. Face it, if you weren’t supposed to get Lyme disease, God wouldn’t have blowdarted that tick onto your ass.

    1. FoE: I would certainly consider dosing myself with thalidomide if I had multiple myeloma or Hansen’s disease.

    2. God wouldn’t have blowdarted that tick onto your ass.

      Now that is how you do euphemism.

  8. We live in a neighborhood that’s heavily wooded but you can’t rifle hunt the huge deer herd because of the safety zone law. So my puppy definitely got the vaccine. I’m not wasting a $720 investment.

  9. Brooklyn anti-vaxxers should be wary of allowing their pets to romp across the fields and dunes in the Hamptons since the number of Lyme disease carrying ticks has exploded on Long Island this summer. The ticks that latch onto dogs can move along to their owners.

    The Brooklyn Paper story, however, reminded me pooches do have access to effective vaccinations against Lyme disease while people do not. The one time I was infected from a tick-bite acquired while mowing the grass at my Blue Ridge cabin, I noticed the disease’s characteristic bull’s-eye rash and immediately got dosed with antibiotics.

    What about those of us who are leery of the scourge of Lyme disease (especially in dogs) to begin with Ron?

    Not to wholly refute the science but there’s some counterfactual aspects to this issue as framed. Namely, black-legged or deer ticks that carry and transmit Lyme disease are more common in Southern Climes like your Georgia (right?) cabin. While most Lyme disease infections occur in the North where dog ticks are more common. Dogs, vaccinated or not, are hardly the only vectors. Pretty much any wildlife can carry them and only about 1/3 of the people who develop Lyme Disease have or remember an identifiable tick bite. Not to mention that the odds of picking up a tick, in Brooklyn, are rare to begin with.

    Doggie autism and Brooklyn Hipsters are both stupid anti-science, but there is certainly and element of “DOOM!” woven into Lyme Disease as well.

    1. m.c: First, the Blue Ridge Mountains are in Virginia. Second, Lyme disease is far more prevalent in the North East and New York has the highest number of cases. And third, I was riffing off of the Brooklyn pet anti-vaxxer madness to complain that humans can’t get Lyme disease vaccine due to idiotic anti-vaccine fearmongering in general.


      1. I was riffing off of the Brooklyn pet anti-vaxxer madness to complain that humans can’t get Lyme disease vaccine due to idiotic anti-vaccine fearmongering in general.

        This part right here is especially rage inducing.

        1. This part right here is especially rage inducing.

          And my point is that this isn’t exactly the case. The Wakefield paper and the vaccine were released at about the same time but the first vaccine-autism case wasn’t decided/settled until 2010, almost decade after the Lyme vaccine was voluntarily shut down.

          Lyme is highly tolerable and highly treatable even without the vaccine. Moreover, in the case of dogs, a flea and tick collar/bath/treatment, which you’ll probably get anyway, lowers your risk of getting a tick (and fleas) in the first place. Not to mention all the wooded areas in Brooklyn that dogs bring ticks back to their owners from.

          Ron ‘got it’, got a shot of antibiotics, and got on with his life blissfully unaware of the vaccine and any controversy that may or may not have surrounded it. The majority of people who ‘suffer’ Lyme disease get no other symptom other than the bullseye and many can’t even remember getting bitten by a tick.

          I hate Brooklyn Hipsters and anti-vaxxing luddites as much as the next guy but this article falls short of Ron’s usual level of scientific rigor and feels, to me, a bit forced.

      2. Allow me to clarify/demonstrate. From your PBS source;

        Each year, at least 300,000 people contract Lyme disease

        In the 15 years since the vaccine was pulled off the market, Lyme has exploded into an epidemic; 300,000 people get it every year.

        300,000??!? 10X as infectious as HIV/AIDS? The CDC data indicates more like 30,000 per year. Typo? Possibly. Conflicting or unclear demographics or study parameters? Maybe. Considering there are medical organizations out there purporting notions like you don’t have to be bitten by a tick to have it, you don’t have to develop the bullseye rash, and (varyingly) no amount of antibiotics can cure it, fake news and real news get hard to distinguish.

        If you got bit by a tick and developed a bullseye rash, you certainly got infected with something and a bout of antibiotics isn’t absurd but, IMO, the idea that anti-vaxxers ganged up with Uncle Sam to prevent you from getting your Lyme vaccine isn’t as clear cut as some of the antagonists and collusion in some/many of your other stories.

        1. m.c: Allow me to demonstrate back. The CDC link in the article does in fact note that 30,000 cases per year are reported to the agency, but adds that under-reporting is rife. Using standard methods to take that into account the agency adds: “Results of these studies suggest that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States is around 300,000.”

          Just saying.

  10. So I have a friend with autism. She gets so pissed at these anti-vaxxers nitwits who base their entire worldview on the notion that people with autism are somehow damaged, less than other people, children parents should be ashamed of, etc. To her it’s no different than anti-vaxxers freaking out that vaccines might cause… homosexuality.

    While I don’t go to her extreme that autism is perfectly normal, it does highlight that that a lot of anti-vaxxers view autism as a tragedy. Austistic children are not tragedies. They are not damaged.


    1. Austistic children are not tragedies. They are not damaged.

      Tragedies might be too far for sure, but to pretend they aren’t damaged is also perhaps a bit too far.

      I’m not sure I would ever really use the word ‘damaged’ though since, honestly, the parameters of autism are so broad that it seems that we really don’t particularly understand it’s origin or symptoms at all beyond a loose aggregation of maybe symptoms or maybe behaviors.

    2. Austistic children are not tragedies. They are not damaged.

      I think that’s going to vary across the spectrum. If someone is non-communicative and needs constant supervision for their whole life, that sounds pretty tragic and damaged to me. If they are functional and can learn to cope well with things, or find benefits to their condition, then yeah, no reason to call it a disease or disorder or whatever.

      1. That kind of autism is rare. Most autistic people are fairly normal. Asperger syndrome for example, is part of the autism spectrum.

        Take allergies as an analogy. Some people have severe allergies, to the point that they need to be isolated from the environment. Then you have me, who gets itchy eyes when around rabbits. Am I damaged? If antivaxxers thought vaccines caused allergy, they would treat allergic kids as woefully damaged children whose parents should be ashamed for bringing them into the world.

        1. Yeah, I don’t really know what the relative prevalence is of different forms of autism. I don’t disagree that autistic people who aren’t severely disabled by it probably shouldn’t be considered damaged or a tragic existence. I have a couple of friends who are definitely on the spectrum and I wouldn’t call them damaged or ill (though one has been pretty annoying lately with his obsession with some weird, paranoid political stuff).


  11. Admittedly it sounds like a spoof or a plot from the TV comedy Portlandia, but the the Brooklyn Paper is reporting that local veterinarians have noticed anti-vax madness has taken hold among Brooklynite hipsters who are refusing to get their dogs and cats inoculated.

    We’ve been saying that these people are beyond parody for a while now, and they keep proving us right.

  12. Most of the anti-vax stuff isn’t for diseases like parvo and distemper which are common and deadly. My guess is the vets are overstating the issue because it’s a money loser for them. I owned a large daycare, boarding and training facility and these dogs were being vaxed twice a year. They were getting vaxed with stuff that didn’t even prevent the disease they were supposed to. Yes, I’m look at you, Bordetella.

    And then there is canine influenza! What an awesome money maker that is for the vets. After working with thousands of dogs for over 15 years, I have never seen a case. My daughter who was a professional handler sometimes traveling to shows with up to 40 dogs has never seen it either.

    The few cases that are known are generally from show dogs at a specifics shows. Unlike obedience, Rally and agility- my sports- professional handlers travel with other peoples’ dogs in vans or trucks (we’re talking 18 wheelers here, not pick ups!) for weeks at a time. The dogs pick up something, pass it to the others and by the time they are in their home states, start to show symptoms. Suddenly it has “spread” to 5 states. Fortunately, show dogs don’t go to dog parks, kennels or daycares. They usually live with lots of other dogs though so the number jumps when they bring it back. One breeder/handler had 8 of his 11 Bernese Mountain Dogs come down with it.

    1. As for the severity- the few people whose dogs have had it have posted that the vets admitted the dogs, started subQ fluids and heavy antibiotics. This is the equivalent of a people dr. given you antibiotics, Muscinex, Tylenol, antihistamines and cough medicine for a cold. The antibiotics don’t do anything and the rest just maks symptoms or aren’t need at all (like the Muscinex) but when you tell your boss that you had to take 5 meds including antibiotics, it sound horrible.

      But forget about the propaganda. The libertarian view point should be “WHO CARES?” and this doesn’t belong in a libertarian publication. If you don’t want to vaccinate your dog (except for the 100% deadly rabies) then don’t. Considering most dogs are on flea and tick meds, Lyme isn’t a big dog issue. And, as the author so kindly pointed out, you get Lyme just by living your life.

      1. T: Libertarians tend to have a higher “need for cognition” which means that they are more interested in factual information than are tribal conservatives and liberals. The fact is that anti-vaxxers are peddling misinformation/lies about vaccinations and that needs to be pointed out from time to time. Not mention that their factually incorrect fearmongering drove an effective vaccine that some of us would like to have used off of the market.

        1. In my experience on the front line of pet care, it is not the “crazy” anti-vaxers who are the fearmongers. The truth is that the vets are pushing unneeded vaccines down pet owners throats. People are starting to say no to the unnecessary vaccines and now the vets need to do something about it- lie about the motives to make them sound crazy and scare people into getting vaccines they don’t need for their pet.

          This article is so biased and so untruthful that I kept looking for an AVMA or Banfield sponsorship sticker. If the libertarians who run the magazine were concerned about the truth they would fire the author immediately.

          1. Yeah, too bad he won’t respond to you directly, though. I suppose you’ll never know his real views on the subject…

        2. I’m so sorry! Not sorry for sharing my information but really sorry that you didn’t understand that my post was about biased journalism and that you felt the need to explain to a libertarian what libertarians are interested in. Hopefully soon your comprehension and critical thinking skills will advance a little and your replies might me worth reading.

          1. … Okay, seriously, you *are* aware that Ron Bailey is *the guy who wrote the article*, right?

            He was explaining to you “WHY he wrote the article”.

            He actually writes science-related articles rather regularly. And this is the first time I’ve ever seen him write about pet vaccines. If he is in the pocket of Big Pet-Vax, it is rather sudden.

            Not to mention the “Brooklyn Hipster Anti-Vaxxer” story is literally ALL OVER the Internet right now, in exactly this form. I guess it’s just a Big Pet-Vax conspiracy…

  13. “Let’s say it one more time: Numerous studies have debunked the claim that autism is linked to vaccinations.”

    Numerous studies have debunked the claims that DDT, Dioxin and Agent Orange are unsafe.

    I think I’ll wait a bit .

    1. No pet owner that I have ever met has ever mentioned autism. This is the first I’ve seen it. I have talked to thousands of pet owners about vaccines because I owned a grooming, training, daycare and boarding facility and still train and we have to look at vaccine records and talk to people about the difference between required and voluntary vaccines. This fear mongering plain and simple. And since the only vaccine required by most states is rabies, adding all those others is quite profitable.

  14. All that will come of this is more government mandated vaccines in cities, i.e. higher vet costs and lower adoption rates.

  15. very nice post. I like it. Thanks for sharing this information.
    Tinder is the best online chatting application. Try it.
    http://www.tinder-pc-download.com/ tinder for pc
    http://www.tinder-pc-download.com/ tinder download

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.