The anti-vaccination movement, that has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, appears to include dog owners, increasing the risk of illness for pets, their owners and veterinarians, according to new research.

The Boston University School of Public Health study, Dog Vaccination Hesitance, was released on August 26.

It found that 37% of owners believe that vaccines are not safe for dogs, 22% consider them ineffective and 30% useless.

In total, 53% of dog owners held one of these three views, according to the survey which was carried out in partnership with research and data analysis company YouGov.

“We knew Dog Vaccination Hesitancy existed from anecdotal and anecdotal experiences. We didn’t know how widespread it was,” assistant professor Matt Motta, lead author of the study, which he believes is the first of its kind, told Reuters.

The rabies vaccine for dogs is one of the few vaccines required by many US states.

However, veterinarians are trying to convince dog owners to vaccinate their pets for other diseases as well.

In California, veterinarians recommend vaccines against parvovirus, hepatitis and distemper.

“If there are more unvaccinated dogs, the risk of disease transmission increases and the same goes for vets, like my sister, all of us who come into contact with unvaccinated pets are potentially at risk of getting sick,” Mota concludes.

Todd Kalsin, a veterinarian at Laurel Veterinary Clinic in West Hollywood, said he was initially surprised by how widespread the phenomenon is, but he said the findings of the study are consistent with the content of the questions he receives from dog owners.

“I think this environment with the COVID vaccine and everything else that’s going on…it’s starting to show up in pets as well,” Kalsin said.

A UNICEF report in April found that people around the world have lost confidence in routine childhood vaccines against deadly diseases such as measles and polio during the COVID pandemic.

Patty Souza, 42, a dog owner from the Laguna Beach area, described the survey results as “shocking.”

“You try to do your best, but the other guy refuses to do his own debt. It’s not funny, not funny at all,” he says.