Dr. Gene Dorio | Let’s Follow Fido’s Nose

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Re: “Specialty trained dogs can sniff out COVID-19 infection,” Healthy Living, Aug. 22.

Your articles by Drs. Elizabeth Ko and Eve Glazier are always very informative. Their recent column discussing the use of dogs to “sniff out” COVID-19 infections suggests “more study is needed.”

This research has been ongoing for many years as writers, including myself, have pointed out in the past the value of canine olfactory nostrils in assessing the presence of the COVID-19 virus.

This is what I posted on July 17, 2020, over three years ago:

“Open for business, with our dog:

“We are still trying to learn how coronavirus invades the body, responds to treatment, and spreads to others. Symptoms from this invasion can be loss of taste or smell, so its point of attack might be nasal tissue.

“As medical detectives, odors created by tissue destruction can be a unique clue allowing us to diagnose disease. For example, doctors and nurses ‘smell’ clostridium difficile (‘C diff’) associated with diarrhea, and pseudomonas aeruginosa found in wound infections. Therefore, could the coronavirus attack also produce an odor?

“Multiple studies reveal dogs may effectively ‘sniff out’ coronavirus. (Look it up). 

“Think about this: Instead of waiting in line for testing, anticipating results, or lacking swabs or reagents, a trained dog could be our screening tool. They might strategically be stationed in front of businesses – like restaurants, hair salons, bowling alleys, or those queuing up for an airline flight. If you don’t get a ‘paws up OK,’ no admission!

“Forget temperature checks and waiting for symptoms. Trained dogs might be faster, more effective than testing, and a lot cheaper, costing only ‘dog chow.’

The ASPCA has TV commercials rescuing dogs. Think about putting them to use, and making them ‘man’s best friend’ again.”

As mentioned in The Signal article recently, research reveals a dog’s nose is even more sensitive than the test kits we have been using.

Let’s stop fooling ourselves that technology is omnipotent, especially when we can trust “man’s best friend” to be more reliable. 

Dr. Gene Dorio


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