Do Dogs Get Autism?

“We believe that the autism spectrum and those on it, are important and necessary parts of the wide diversity present in human genetics,” ASAN

In a one of the many autism Facebook groups I am a part of; an article was shared. I was surprised that this article was shared in this particular group (LDS Adults With Autism). I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was an anti-vaccine article with title of Autism is Being Found in Higher Rates of Dogs.

Yes dogs. The cause is the rabies vaccine. But what the article really showed was the deep lack of understanding of what autism actually is when listing a bunch of random traits considered abnormal.

  • Autism is more common in boys than in girls. (This is due to a diagnosis sheet being formed off of boys rather than girls. That gap is also closing.)
  • Repetitive movements: Allistics also use repetitive movements such as pencil tapping. Repetition is further ingrained with traditions and holidays. Stimming is a self-soothing behavior and not all autistics stim in ways that fit the stereotype.
  • Poor social skills. Autistics can have great social skills with other autistics. Also there are multiple factors into poor social skills.

So can dogs get autism? That is up for scientific debate. One researcher summarizes his studies about finding not only similar traits but biomarkers as well in atypical dogs. Yet it’s bothersome that psychiatrists would rather consult with dogs about autism than actually autistics. Though dogs have the possibility of developing different neurotypes calling it autism doesn’t help actually autistics. A different term is needed. Some conditions are across many species but that is because physiologically they are the same. Behavior and psychology is a different story.

The article I read was also worrisome. It reflected once again the belief that autism is caused by vaccines rather than genetics. The fact is vaccines don’t cause autism or chronic rabies. Rabies is actually a serious virus that impacts the brain. In people irritability maybe the first sign. After symptoms of rabies appear in people the virus is 99% lethal.

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