By Lisa L. MeeksMANCHESTER, N.H. — Dogs are not the first animal to exhibit symptoms of autism.
They have had their share of cases as well.
But now, a new study is pointing to a possible cause.
Dr. James A. Tompkins, the chief medical officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association, told The Associated Press that dogs and cats with autism have a high incidence of seizures.
Tompkins said the disease is more likely to affect dogs and other dogs than cats, because the condition can be triggered by a variety of things.
He said the problem is more of a developmental disease than a genetic one.
The AP contacted the American Kennel Club and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Both said they had no information about the study.
The association said in a statement that it has taken many steps to address dog and cat health, including vaccination of dogs and cat owners and more research into the diseases.
The study by Tompkin and his colleagues was published in the journal Pediatrics.
They used a questionnaire designed by the researchers that asks owners to assess their dogs’ health and their interactions with their pets.
They found that the dogs were more likely than the cats to have seizures and had the highest rates of seizure activity.
Tropicana PetCare, a pet-care provider based in Cincinnati, Ohio, did not respond to a request for comment.