Sick as a dog? The prevalence, politicization, and health policy consequences of canine vaccine hesitancy (CVH)

Vaccine. 2023 Sep 22;41(41):5946-5950. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.08.059. Epub 2023 Aug 26.


Canine vaccine hesitancy (CVH) can be thought about as dog owners' skepticism about the safety and efficacy of administering routine vaccinations to their dogs. CVH 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. In a nationally representative survey of US adults (N = 2200), we introduce a novel survey-based instrument for measuring CVH. We document pervasive CVH in dog owner subpopulations. Troublingly, we find that CVH is associated with rabies non-vaccination, as well as opposition to evidence-based vaccine policies. We conclude by discussing the human and animal health consequences of CVH, and outline a research agenda for future opinion-based research on this important topic.

Keywords: Cainine vaccine hesitancy; Health policy; Public health; Rabies vaccination; Vaccine hesitancy.