Dr. Jean Dodds' Pet Health Resource Blog

Considered one of the foremost experts in pet healthcare, Dr. Dodds focuses on vaccination protocols, thyroid issues and nutrition.
Visit Hemopet.org or Nutriscan.org for more information.

Minimizing the Volume of “Core” MLV Vaccines Given to Small Dogs

Clinical experience has shown that the dose of canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) vaccines can be reduced to 50%, but not more, for small breed type dogs, based on optimum body weight, and still convey the full duration of immunity.

Reducing the volume of vaccine and the number of antigens given together decreases the likelihood of an adverse event. Holistic veterinary medicine is now embracing a new standard of care by reducing the dosage of vaccine depending upon the weight of the pet and other factors.

We are now recruiting 20 small breed adult dogs to participate in a fully funded clinical pilot study. Any adult dog weighing less than 12 pounds that has not been vaccinated for either CDV or CPV in the prior three (3) years is eligible to enroll. There is no charge to the participants. 

A signed Informed Consent Form is required from each dog’s owner/guardian, prior to entering the study.

Blood samples will be collected from all 20 enrolled dogs before, 4 weeks after, and 6 months after they have been vaccinated with a half-dose (0.5 ml) of a licensed bi-valent distemper and parvovirus vaccine (Nobivac DPV; Merck Animal Health; available in 25-dose packs.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, California 92843

Richard Palmquist, DVM
Centinela Animal Hospital
721 Centinela Avenue
Inglewood, California 90302

Is kelp the cure-all for canine thyroid conditions?

Too often I encounter well-meaning pet caregivers that immediately supplement a dog’s diet with kelp (a rich source of iodine) based on assumptions of observed symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Diagnosing iodine deficiencies is tricky, though. In fact, iodine deficiency diagnoses are generally left to epidemiologists who infer it by the amount of iodine in the soil where people and pets live, or measure the iodine content of the urine of a population as a whole rather than an individual.

In terms of dogs, kelp supplementation will only work as intended if the dog has an iodine deficiency, which is highly unlikely. The majority of dogs that become hypothyroid suffer from inherited autoimmune thyroiditis (like Hashimoto’s lymphocytic thyroiditis in people), which has nothing to do with iodine deficiency. Further, excessive iodine supplementation can result in the overproduction of the T4 and T3 in dogs and cats, which triggers unintended cascading effects: in dogs, the immune system may wind up attacking the thyroid gland (producing excessive amounts of thyroglobulin autoantibody) which end up suppressing thyroid levels and causing the very hypothyroidism it was meant to prevent; whereas in cats, the overdosing can result in overt hyperthyroidism.

Common sense begets that you should also not give kelp to dogs that are taking thyroxine via a commercial brand name or generic synthetic thyroid product.

Observation is the first critical step; and thorough testing is ultimately the most important next second step to treat a pet or human with potential thyroid function problems.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843