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Canine and feline core vaccinations: US veterinarians’ concerns and perceived impact of COVID-19 antivaccination views on veterinary medicine

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  • 1 College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • | 2 Veterinary Information Network, Davis, CA

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Assess US veterinarians’ perceptions regarding vaccine concerns (their own and owners’) and the association between owners’ vaccine concerns and COVID-19 antivaccination sentiments.

SAMPLE

Members of the Veterinary Information Network.

PROCEDURES

An electronic survey distributed via the Veterinary Information Network data collection portal.

RESULTS

1,341 US veterinarians completed the survey. Top veterinarian concerns for vaccinating a healthy adult dog were anaphylaxis, soreness at injection site, and lethargy; for cats, these concerns included vaccine-associated sarcoma, lethargy, and soreness at injection site. Veterinarians reported that the most common concerns mentioned by owners included that the pet does not go outside, that vaccinations are unnecessary, that vaccinations can lead to chronic or severe illness, and cost. Veterinarians reported an increased number of dog and cat owners reluctant about or resistant to the idea of rabies vaccines and core vaccines since the time that COVID-19 vaccines became widely available. There was an association between veterinarians’ perceptions of local COVID-19 antivaccination sentiments and the increase in the number of vaccine-resistant or -concerned clients.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

There appears to be little overlap between veterinarians’ primary concerns related to vaccinations and their perception of dog and cat owners’ primary concerns. The fact that the number of resistant clients is positively associated with the presence of veterinarians’ perceptions of a local COVID-19 antivaccination sentiment suggests that human antivaccination sentiments impact pet owners’ views of companion animal vaccinations. A better understanding of the cognitive biases that impact owners’ vaccine decisions can help veterinarians better communicate with vaccine-reluctant clients and increase vaccination compliance rates.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author: Dr. Kogan (lori.kogan@colostate.edu)