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Today's Takeaway with Florine Mark

Jun 7, 2021

With Maria Goodavage,  New York Times bestselling author & dog expert.


Did you know that specially trained dogs are 94% accurate at sniffing out and detecting Covid in airports, workplaces and public events? A trial study conductedby the U.K. charity, "Medical Detection Dogs" trained dogs to detect Covid-19 scent by using more than 3,500 body odor samples from articles of clothing, such as socks and T-shirts and correctly identified individuals who had the Covid-19 virus. The success rate of the dogs exceeded all expectations, proving even more accurate than standard rapid Covid lab tests. It's expected that based upon the success of this trial, dogs will soon be deployed in crowded public areas to sniff out asymptomatic Covid-19 carriers.  


Just as dogs make our lives better and richer, now we're learning how our beloved animal companions can become our very best medicine too.  Trained "doctor dogs" can also help us stay healthy and warn us of impending medical emergencies in ways we haven’t even imagined.


Florine sits down this week with working dog expert, journalist, and New York Times bestselling author Maria Goodavage. Her latest book Doctor Dogs details how dogs may alert us to health episodes before they happen and other ways dogs are assisting with the detection and treatment of health disorders. She details how researchers are harnessing dog’s keen sense of smell to alert to seizures, diabetic emergencies and even sniff out Covid-19 in airports. Current studies reveal how dogs are being used in revolutionary new medical practices and scientific advancements.


What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Maria's father's experience as a young soldier in WWII first inspired her interest in military dogs, which led her to her path in researching other working dogs.
  • How dogs are trained by scent to detect specific health disorders.
  • Researchers look for dogs that are really motivated by rewards to be able to be trained as a working medical dog.
  • Labradors make up most of working dogs because of their focus and love of food.
  • Many of the programs using dogs to sniff out disease are still in the trial stages.
  • Cancer detection, for example, is not available yet for patients; it’s mainly in the research stage.
  • Researchers want the dogs to lead to a technology called eNose or electronic nose.
  • One of the most important tasks for working dogs could be detecting COVID-19 in humans.
  • Active COVID-19 detecting dogs are currently at work at Helsinki Airport and in the airport in Dubai.
  • How dogs help comfort crime, disaster, and PTSD victims.
  • Prison inmates are helping to train working dogs.
  • Today’s Takeaway: Dogs can help us stay healthy in ways we haven’t even imagined; they make our lives better and richer.


Brought To You By:

Florine Mark

Maria Goodavage

Doctor Dogs — On Amazon