Oak Ridge dog trainer can detect cancer with dogs

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Did you know dogs can sniff out cancer and other diseases? It's true and a local dog trainer just became the first in Tennessee to learn how to detect biological substances using dogs. Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis has the story.

Rosana Dropkin teaches dogs to use their noses to sniff out scents for sport. She's worked with dogs for years, and recently she learned a new skill. She says, "It was a very intense course, but very fun."

She traveled to California to teach dogs to detect biological substances like cancer using samples like blood, sweat and saliva.
Dropkin says, "Dogs can find cancer. It gives off a volatile organic compound. People don't know what that is, but dogs can smell that."

Dogs can spot cancer at stages one and even zero, before doctors can see it on any tests. So a dog would sniff out cancer then the doctor would monitor that patient until the cancer develops saving lives by early detection. Cancer isn't the only biological substance dogs can smell. Dropkin says, "They know Parkinsons has a scent. They have a cure, but by the time they find it on them, it's to late. So if we could find Parkinsons much earlier, we could do something about that."

Rosana's dream is to rescue shelter dogs and train them for cancer detection, but she must first work with a research hospital on clinical trials to present to the FDA for approval. It's something Rosana's clients hope for. Janet Cable says, "There's so many opportunities for dogs to help in the medical community, and this is just another phase of it. It allows dogs to do more work."

More work that could save lives one day.

If you are a physician and would like to help Rosana with her clinical trials, call her at 845-750-7036.