Humane Veterinary Research: First, Do No Harm

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March 20, 2015 | 11,595 views

Story at-a-glance

  • Dr. Jean Dodds is in charge of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation’s research grant approval process. Dr. Dodds’ veterinary and clinical research experience spans 50 years
  • The Foundation does not support studies that harm animals, only clinical studies that use animals already affected by the condition being investigated
  • The research focus of the Foundation is aimed at integrative, alternative and complementary approaches to preventing, ameliorating and treating diseases and disorders, which may be used separately or in addition to allopathic (traditional) medical or surgical therapies
Welcome to American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation fundraising week!

This week, instead of our own articles, we're featuring messages and videos from the AHVM Foundation to help you, our readers, learn about all the wonderful work the Foundation is able to do thanks to your generosity and the donation match from Mercola.com.

By Dr. Richard Palmquist, AHVM Foundation Past President

Jean Dodds, DVM, is a highly regarded and talented veterinarian who is in charge of the Foundation’s research grant approval process. She is busy on two continents, but I caught up with her recently to discuss her activities at the Foundation.

Dr. Palmquist: While most people know who you are, please tell our readers a bit about your qualifications and how you came to this position.

Dr. Dodds: I’ve been a veterinary basic and clinical research investigator for nearly 50 years. For the first 27 years of my professional career we performed NIH–funded comparative hematology and immunology research. I also administered the Council on Human Blood and Transfusion Services for the New York State Department of Health.

Dr. Palmquist: How did you become involved in the holistic and integrative medical movement?

Dr. Dodds: My “eureka moment” arrived in the late 1970s, when I was asked to speak to the nascent AHVMA group in Milwaukee about concerns I was having with the increasing practice of over-vaccination in veterinary clinics. When I stood up before this group – thinking that I would be looking at “odd” folks – I was amazed to immediately recognize that I’d found my home with them. I have never looked back!

Dr. Palmquist: The AHVM Foundation does not support studies that harm animals, preferring to concentrate on clinical studies that use animals already affected by the condition being investigated. Can you share your feelings about humane research?

Dr. Dodds: To me, humane treatment and study design are the lynchpins of acceptable, humane research using living beings. We follow the time-honored biomedical research goals of the three Rs of Russell & Burch. These are:

Reduction in the number of living animals needed to accomplish the desired research goal

Refinement in the protocol to reduce any harm to the animals

Replacement of living animals with non-animal methods such as mathematical models, tissue culture, and invertebrates

Dr. Palmquist: How does the Foundation assure its research is ethical and not harmful to animals?

Dr. Dodds: While the 3 R’s apply to both naturally occurring and experimentally induced animal models, the AHVMF does not accept proposals that induce disease or disorders; we only accept studies of naturally occurring conditions. We also monitor researchers to verify they are operating in keeping with these rules.

Dr. Palmquist: Why is such research important?

Dr. Dodds: Our research focus is aimed at integrative, alternative and complementary approaches to preventing, ameliorating and treating diseases and disorders, which may be used separately or in addition to allopathic (traditional) medical or surgical therapies. Such research gives veterinarians and animal guardians more tools and choices in managing their animal's health care needs.

How You Can Make a Difference

Pets bless us with their companionship and unconditional love. That’s why Mercola Healthy Pets has partnered with the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation (AHVMF) to raise money for integrative education and research efforts. We were able to raise over $1 million in the last three years. Now through March 22, 2015, a portion of all sales at Healthy Pets will be donated to AHVMF. So, while you shop this week, know that each purchase will contribute to this very worthwhile cause.

Over 150 million people have pets. If just a small percentage of them donated there would be enough money raised for a trust fund that would generate the money we need for education and research. Veterinarians would come out of veterinary school with new treatments in their veterinary toolbox. Your dog will thank you for it and so will your cat, though it won’t be so obvious!

So please take a moment right now to be one in a million and make a donation to the AHVM Foundation. Come and check out our AHVMF.Org, read inspiring stories, see animal teachers, cute dog pictures, and make a donation today.