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The Pet Doctor, Your Pet Health Matters on PetLifeRadio.comBernadine D. Cruz, DVM, host of The Pet Doctor

Bernadine D. Cruz, DVM

The Nose Knows - Detection Dogs

Dr. Cynthia M. Otto on Pet Life Radio ........

..Dr. Cynthia M. Otto

You've seen them on the news, at the airport and major sporting events... detection dogs.  They can sniff out explosives and contraband, but how do they do what they do?  A dog's nose is so exquisitely sensitive that it's said that where you and I might detect the scent of stew wafting through the air, a dog could pick out the individual ingredients as well as the person who made the meal from the same aroma stream.  Though a dog may have the physical ability for the task, it takes special training to turn them into potentially lifesaving canines. 

Dr. Cynthia Otto is the director of Penn Vet Working Dog Center, in Philadelphia, PA.  She's going to give us a glimpse into the care, training and ongoing research that goes into these spectacular canines, and what you can do to get involved.

Questions or comments? Email Dr.Cruz at:


Dr. Otto, a 1986 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, received her small animal internal medicine residency and PhD training from the University of Georgia.  She is currently a tenured associate professor of Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, where she is active in clinical care, research and teaching. She is a board certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care and serves as an attending veterinarian in the Ryan Veterinary Hospital Emergency Service. Dr. Otto has been involved in disaster medicine as an active member of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 since 1994 (including deployments to Hurricane Floyd and 9/11) and the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team-2 since 1999 (deploying to Hurricane Katrina).

She is the founding director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center which opened its training facility on September 11, 2012. She has been monitoring the health and behavior of Urban Search and Rescue canines since October of 2001, through an AKC-CHF funded grant (now in its third renewal).  She has established the AKC-CAR Detection Dog DNA bank. She is active in educating search dog handlers and members of the working dog community in canine care. She was named Pennsylvania’s 2002 “Veterinarian of the Year” and received an Alumni Recognition Award in 2006 and the OSU Distinguished Alumus Award in 2008 from the Ohio State University.  She is involved in dog sports (flyball, agility, and tricks), and pet therapy, with her rescued Bichon mix, Dolce.

Penn Vet Working Dog Center


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