Letter to the Editor

by author Peggy Charchol

Dogs are my passion. Especially German Shepherd dogs. I have been raising and showing my dogs in the conformation ring for over 20 years. My dogs have been bought not only for companions, but for therapy dogs, service dogs, and even for detecting epileptic seizures before they happen. It is well known that dogs can be taught to sniff out explosives, drugs and find missing children and other persons. 

But, can dogs sniff out the coronavirus? Is it possible for a dog to detect whether someone has Covid-19? Well, I just read an article in “The Kennel Spotlight’s” April/May 2021 issue by Mary Rogers and the answer to that question is yes. Here are some excerpts from the article:

“Current research shows that dogs can be trained to detect the virus, and researchers at The Canine Performance Science Center are working not just with COVID-19, but they are also making plans for other viruses that could be a problem in the future. The hope is that these virus-sniffing dogs could be used in hospitals and airports and even at the entrance to a nursing home.”

“Another group that is interested in potentially using dogs to detect viruses is the Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine Canine Performance Science Program. Currently, Auburn’s main focus has been on sniffing out explosive devices, but the hope is that these intelligent dogs can be trained on any target, namely a virus.”

“Although those involved want to make it clear that there is still work to be done before this becomes a common practice, the research looks promising at this point in time.”

So, if these dogs can detect if a person has Covid-19 or other viruses, WOW! We wouldn’t need the unpleasant experience of nasal swabs, masks, and isolating our loved ones.