The anti-vaccination movement that plagued parents with fear their children may develop a myriad of diseases has now shifted its focus toward pets, according to a Thursday report from the Brooklyn Paper. Pet owners are concerned their furry friends could obtain illnesses, injuries or autism from vaccinations.

Veterinarians in Brooklyn, New York have reportedly noticed the growing trend among their clientele, who claim an increased number of patients are reluctant to vaccinate their dogs. 

"We do see a higher number of clients who don’t want to vaccinate their animals," Dr. Amy Ford of the Veterinarian Wellness Center of Boerum Hill told the Brooklyn Paper Thursday. "This may be stemming from the anti-vaccine movement, which people are applying to their pets."

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Dr. Tina Wismer, the Medical Director for American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center, issued a statement Thursday to International Business Times about the growing concern of pet vaccinations and its link to autism. Wismer claims there isn't "scientific evidence" that proves this claim is valid. 

“There is no scientific evidence behind the claim that vaccines cause autism in pets, nor is this a commonly held belief by pet owners," Wismer told IBT. "Because of proven medical benefit, we recommend giving all puppies and kittens an introductory series of vaccinations and keeping all pets current on rabies vaccinations. Other vaccination needs vary based on an animal’s location and lifestyle."

She added, "Pet owners should consult with their personal veterinarians or local clinics for regional and pet-specific vaccination recommendations." According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, core vaccinations recommended for dogs include rabies, distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus (canine hepatitis). However, each state has its own regulations for which vaccines are required for all pets. 

SEE ALSO: Are Vaccines Safe? Congress Members Write Bipartisan Letter To Colleagues On The Importance Of Immunization

The autism-vaccination link has been repeatedly debunked over the years. The Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) disproved the connection between autism and vaccines in November 2015. The CDC wrote on its website, "Some people have had concerns that ASD [autism] might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD." While there are rare exceptions, vaccines have been confirmed to be safe.

Vaccines have also proven to save the lives of dogs worldwide. Canine distemper, an incurable virus that affects several systems of a dog (i.e. the respiratory system), can be fatal to dogs. According to New York Magazine, fewer canine deaths have occurred with the creation of a canine distemper vaccine in 1929. 

ASPCA's website claims vaccinations will help a pet's immune system combat a disease if it encounters it.

"When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is mildly stimulated. If a pet is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness," the organization says.

The mild stimulation from being vaccinated can cause the animal to experience symptoms that include soreness from the injection and an allergic reaction. While there have been no confirmed reports of dogs developing autism through vaccinations, the Vaccine Reaction reported in April that "the appearance of autism-like behaviors has been observed in dogs since [the] mid-1960s." Studies are reportedly underway to determine whether it's possible for pets — dogs, in particular — can develop autism. 

Dog at Vet Dog at vet, pictured April 4, 2016 in Wolverhampton, England, people are now against having their pets vaccinated. Photo: Getty Images

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