Jean Dodds Cited by California Veterinary Medical Board for Practicing Veterinary Medicine without a License

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. She promotes speculative, inaccurate, and even clearly false claims about thyroid disease, pet nutrition, and vaccines. 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.

Despite all of this, she has continued to practice and promote her unscientific approaches openly and with impunity for many years. Vets throughout the country, myself included, regularly have to try and explain to misinformed clients why her tests and recommendations are not reliable and shouldn’t be followed. And while holding this role as an iconoclastic sage for the alternative veterinary medicine movement, she has not held an actual license to practice in any state.

However, I have also discussed in the past the impotence of most legal and regulatory restraints on unscientific veterinary practice, with examples of figures such as Gloria Dodd and Al Plechner, arguably even more dangerous in their views and actions than Dr. Dodds, practicing openly without effective sanction for decades. With or without a medical license, many individuals are able to promote and sell pseudoscientific products and practices freely despite misleading and endangering the public because the political will does not exist to restrain them.

I was pleasantly surprised, then, to read in The Canine Review that the California Veterinary Medical Board has issued a cease-and-desist order and levied a fine on Dr. Dodds for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. The details of the citation involve Dr. Dodds being listed as the veterinarian of record on both electronic medical records and on results from her bogus Nutriscan allergy test and other laboratory tests.

Given the evidence of history, I am not sanguine that there will be any significant consequences for Dr. Dodds stemming from this action. Dr. Gloria Dodd was cited for malpractice and also issued a warning by the FDA for her quackery, and neither prevented her from continuing her actions. Dr. Plechner was being investigated by the veterinary medical board for a malpractice claim when he died, after decades of dangerous and unscientific practice, making the claim moot. I will not be at all surprised if Dr. Dodds manages to evade responsibility and continue her practices regardless of this action.

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.

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22 Responses to Jean Dodds Cited by California Veterinary Medical Board for Practicing Veterinary Medicine without a License

  1. Evelyn Janet Haskins says:

    Hmmmmm. 🙁
    The question IS what is her doctorate IN? And from where?

  2. Joy Brunn says:

    I’ve been to 2 seminars. Been to her facility. I think she’s brilliant.

  3. Suzanne Fluhr says:

    I am confused. There is writing about Dr Jean Dodds and Dr Gloria Dodds. How do they relate to Dr J Dodds sited?

  4. skeptvet says:

    She apparently got her DVM from Ontario Veterinary College in 1964

  5. skeptvet says:

    Dr. Gloria Dodds is unrelated to Dr. Jean Dodds. She is another CA vet who practiced pseudoscientific nonsense. She was sanctioned by the VMB and warned by the FDA but got away with it for years, so she is an example of the ineffective regulatory system in veterinary medicine. You can follow the link to the complete article about her.

  6. Niall Taylor says:

    It’s good to hear a veterinary body taking some action against charlatains such as Ms Dodds but it happens all too rarely. In the uk we’ve been campaigning against homeopaths and quacks for decades and it’s made virtually no difference. Infuriating!

  7. Emily Brill says:

    Story update coming later this evening . Still have about six or seven more major reporting t’s to cross, i’s to dot but made good progress today. There are a lot of years to cover and TCR is apparently the first to do the kind of common-sense requisite fact-checking on Dodds that we consider standard.

    This is a failure of management, oversight, will, accountability, and, yes, the press dropped the ball, too. No reporter bothered to look this person’s name up on the vet board at any point? In all of the times she’s been written about? Really?

    This absence of strong, professional journalism on Planet Fluffy’s Listicle of Favorite Grain Free Affiliate Revenue Model Click Bait DCM Delicious Dishes is much of what made me confident about starting TCR. I know none of this should surprise me. There’s still no explanation for it and even as i write this, nobody in the bowels of ineffectual California govt bureaucracy seems to think he or she bears responsibility, at least that’s what my reporting today seems to show. Story up soon. Meantime, everyone keep reading SkeptVet.

  8. chris says:

    Yes to reitereate the above…. no matter the outcome , it is good to see some body trying to hold scammers to account.

  9. skeptvet says:

    A lot of us have known for a long time that Dr.Dodds isn’t actively licensed. My suspicion is that she will claim, as Dr. Gloria Dodd did, that she is a “consultant,” and that all the patients she is involved with have a primary veterinarian who is licensed. It is a disingenuous smokescreen for unlicensed practice, but it has been effective for others, and my guess is it will ultimately get her out of any responsibility or need to change her practices. Hoping I’m wrong, though!

  10. Lyle says:

    So help me understand how my 11 yo American Cocker has been itchy to the point of scracthing herself to a point bleeding and didn’t respond to Apoquil except to grow lots of bumps. She didn’t respond to anything except steroids and we all know long term steroids are not an option. Used every type of shampooo script and otherwise. She was at times so itchy that she was frantic. Undertook the Hemopet saliva test and we found she was sensitve to a lot of things in her food. Changed her diet to non-reactive food 13 days ago and and she is subjectivly 800% better. Sleeps at night, no longer frantic, and much happier.

    SkeptVet – please help me understand how nothing else worked but this did.

  11. skeptvet says:

    I doubt that I can, since you don’t really think there is any possibility you might be wrong. However, I have written extensively about why such anecdotes are unreliable, why what seems obvious can often be misleading. This is a well-understood phenomenon of human thinking with it’s own name; the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    Just because it rains after you wash your car, and even though it didn’t rain after you took out the garbage, painted the house, or mowed the lawn, doesn’t mean that washing your car caused it to rain. Lots of complicated things are happening all the time in and around a dog with allergies, and we tend to give the credit or blame for changes in symptoms to the few things we notice, not to any of the many more things we don’t notice.

    Here’s some humor and a collection of detailed articles answering your question:
    Here’s a bit more detail on why anecdotes aren’t very helpful:

    Why Anecdotes Can’t be Trusted


  12. Emily Brill says:

    Brennan, there’s a chance you could be wrong about the impunity hypothesis, as you’ll read more about later. Sorry for the delay, but there’s been an inexplicable absence of legal and financial reporting on Dodds/Hemopet in addition to the more typical reporting errors and oversights, so it’s been a long week of reporting and fact-checking for TCR. Trying to wrap up at least a portion of what we’ve amassed so y’all can have at some of this today. EB

  13. Patti Hord says:

    Say what you will, but Dr. Jean Dodds and her Nutriscan test saved my Alaskan Malamute Shyanne from a life of allergy misery! I’m forever grateful to her for improving Shyanne’s quality of life tenfold!

  14. skeptvet says:

    Say what you will, but anecdotes aren’t reliable evidence-

    Why Anecdotes Can’t be Trusted


  15. L Safir says:

    Dr. Dodds saved my dog’s life when my dog had liver disease and had less than a month to live at 8 yrs old. She was on an excellent home cooked diet (rice, chicken, etc). She had been dying for 6 months. I paid thousands of dollars to internists and vets in Marin and Sonoma counties in CA (high end vets) and all they could tell me was she would die within a month. I found a Yahoo group on Canine Liver disease and prayed and cried for months. Finally I found Dr. Dodds and her liver disease diet through the Yahoo group (primarily steamed cod, sweet potato and white potato, all skinned, green beans, carrots, vitamins). My dog lost 12 lbs of ascites fluid on the cod in 12 days. My dog is now 15 and healthier than I am. She has been on the same diet since Dr. Dodds gave us the diet. I stop people in the street to tell them about Dr. Dodds. Dr. Dodds never charged me a one penny and she is a SAINT. Google the liver disease diet. I would follow all of Dr. Dodds’ advice for preventative health if I had a young pet. For now I am blessed to have my dog because of Dr. Dodds’ ground breaking work.

  16. Edward Wright says:

    In Houston, there is an actual literal witch doctor practicing as an MD. She has stated publicly that diseases are caused by having sex with demons who come to patients in their sleep.

    There is a small, but noisy, minority of nurses (and even doctors) who are anti-vax.

    And yet, all these people manage to keep their licenses. Even during the pandemic, which should have demonstrated just how dangerous that is.

    I would be surprised to find that veterinary medicine was better.

    I wonder, just what does a medical professional have to do to lose his or her license? Sometimes I think the only purpose licensing serves is to give the public false confidence in the professionals they’re dealing with.

  17. skeptvet says:

    Yeah, I’ve asked this question before regarding vets, and there doesn’t seem to be any limit!

  18. Jacquelien Moran says:

    This statement you made is not true, breeders have been sued over recommending vaccine protocol as practicing veterinary medicine without a license ” With or without a medical license, many individuals are able to promote and sell pseudoscientific products and practices freely despite misleading and endangering the public because the political will does not exist to restrain them. “

  19. skeptvet says:

    I wouldn’t argue that no one has ever been sanctioned for unlicensed medical practice, of course, but a casual search through this blog alone will show dozens of examples of people offering products and treatments that are not science-based and facing no consequences. A few minutes on the internet will show you thousands of examples. It is the rare exception that someone promotes a bogus “cure” or therapy online and gets caught and punished.

  20. M Cam says:

    Her doctorate is in veterinary medicine. There is more involved in being a licensed veterinarian then getting your diploma. You have to maintain educational credits. You have to pass a state board exam. At some point in their life a lot of that stuff doing all of this just like some lawyers stop taking refresher courses and paying bar association fees

  21. skeptvet says:

    Which is fine if she then stops practicing medicine once she nolomnger has a license. However, giving specific advice for individual patients, as she does, is still practicing medicine. The fact that this is technically illegal bothers me less than the fact that her advice is large nonsense, but it is still relevant.

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