People call her Dr. Dodds, and she’s touted as “one of the foremost experts in pet healthcare, pioneering and revolutionizing pet health.”
“Dr. Jean Dodds is a DVM, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and has spent more than five decades as a clinical research veterinarian,” says the website for Hemopet, her controversial, closed-colony canine blood bank.
Except, as the Southern California News Group reported nearly five years ago, Dodds is not a licensed veterinarian in the state of California.
On Oct. 11, the California Veterinary Medical Board cited Dodds for practicing veterinary medicine without a license and proposed a $5,000 fine.
It’s unclear why the state took action now, but a new state law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this month takes aim directly at Hemopet, and will phase out closed-colony blood banks.
Dodds did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment.
She has been running Hemopet in Garden Grove since 1986 and has a fervent following as the Dr. Sears of the canine set, skeptical of standard vaccine protocols for dogs. In addition to selling dog blood and related products, Hemopet sells “saliva-based food intolerance tests” that some vets dismiss as quackery.
The $298 “NutriScan” tests for the most commonly ingested foods of up to 112 ingredients “to provide you specific results as to your pet’s food intolerance or sensitivities,” while the $125 “CellBIO is a novel biomarker test for cellular oxidative stress in pets using saliva.”
While many champion Dodds’ “wholistic” philosophy — combining traditional medicine with natural approaches — and drive for hours from all over to have pets treated at Hemopet, she has equally strong critics.
“I have written about Jean Dodds many, many times. She is one of those controversial figures who did some legitimate, even trailblazing work early in her career and then went off the deep end, not only embracing many forms of pseudoscience but apparently becoming convinced that she could never be mistaken regardless of the evidence against her ideas,” wrote Brennen McKenzie, a Palo Alto vet, on his SkeptVet blog.
“She promotes speculative, inaccurate, and even clearly false claims about thyroid disease, pet nutrition, and vaccines,” he continued. “She has become especially blatant in selling proprietary diagnostic tests that, at best, are unproven and that, in some cases, have been clearly shown not to work. She has an undeserved reputation for being an ‘expert’ in fields in which she is actually simply an outlier, promoting views that clash not only with the assessments of true experts but with basic science and research evidence.”
McKenzie graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and also has a master of science in epidemiology from the University of London, according to his CV.
Dodds received a D.V.M. degree with honors from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1964, according to records in Canada. She started work as a research scientist with the New York State Health Department in 1965, worked her way to chief of the hematology lab at the state’s Wadsworth Center, and became executive director of the New York State Council on Human Blood and Transfusion Services in 1980, her bio says. She got the idea for a closed-colony dog blood bank, to protect the canine blood supply, during the AIDS crisis of the early 1980s. She moved to California and started Hemopet not long after, but was not licensed as a vet here.
The specifics of the state’s citation say that, on several occasions since June 2020, Dodds “was listed as a veterinarian on the electronic medical record and handwritten medical record” for one animal and “interpreted lab results and provided a treatment plan” for another. Similar violations involving a third animal were cited by the state.
Critics of Dodds, who are elated that closed colonies will be phased out in California in favor of blood donations from pets, are pleased that the state is finally taking some action. Her supporters bemoan it.
“I’ve been to 2 seminars. Been to her facility. I think she’s brilliant,” wrote Joy Brunn, who runs a rescue in Los Angeles County.
It’s unclear what the long-term impact of the state’s action will be. “Given the evidence of history, I am not sanguine that there will be any significant consequences for Dr. Dodds stemming form this action,” wrote McKenzie, the vet. “Nevertheless, at a minimum it is worthwhile to have an official regulatory body confirm what so many of us have known and discussed for years — that Dr. Dodds is not a trustworthy representative of the veterinary profession but an outlier whose views and conduct do not reflect the values or practices of the vast majority of her colleagues.”
Source: Orange County Register