Sign In

Smelling a cure for diseases

April 6, 2020

Dog and medical enthusiasts gathered to support and learn more about PADs for Parkinson’s. The nonprofit that trains dogs to sniff out Parkinson’s Disease held a fundraising and outreach presentation on Nov. 16 at Brickworks.

“There is no definitive laboratory diagnosis for Parkinson’s,” PADs Founder Lisa Holt said. Hold started PADs in March 2016. According to the PADs’ website, PADs has trained more than 20 dogs with an accuracy of 90 percent or higher.

Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that causes shaking and loss of motor skills. Holt noted it is also one of the few diseases that is known to cause a chemical change in the skin. That skin alteration emits a distinct odor. According to Holt, researchers believe that change occurs 10-15 years prior to tremor development. Doctors have told Holt, she said, that if a Parkinson’s patient could be treated even five or six years before tremors set in, it may be possible to add 40 years to the person’s life.

Holt turned the microphone over to Maria Goodavage, author of “Doctor Dogs: How Our Best Friends Are Becoming Our Best Medicine.” Goodavage traveled around the world researching the vast ways canines are being trained for use in the medical field.

Canines with their amazing olfactory senses, Goodavage explained, are able to detect more than just oncoming seizures in epileptic patients. Dogs can smell cancer, provide emotional support for PTSD and anxiety sufferers, and alert diabetics of blood sugar issues. Dogs trained to assist diabetics can also alert the person if their blood sugar is too high or too low. If it’s low, she explained, the dog will make a downward dog motion.

“Dogs don’t need a diagnosis to work miracles,” Goodavage said.

Eight PADs trained dogs — including a Pomeranian in a tutu, a border collie, a standard poodle and a black lab — were present to demonstrate their sniffing abilities. When presented with four choices, each dog was able to find the Parkinson’s sample within seconds. The canines indicated they had found the sent by sitting in front of the sample, at which point they were given a piece of turkey as a reward.

“It’s not even about the treat,” Holt said. “As you can see, these dogs love what they do.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Coco The Therapy Dog

    Emergencies and tragedies can have a deep emotional effect on the first responders who do their best to provide help. “Most people don’t understand the wear and tear that the responders see on a daily basis. It does build up on them and can cause issues,” said Patrick Brandt, director of Delaware County Emergency Communications. […]

    Read more

    Seizure Alert Dog

    One girl’s journey to get a service dog ends on a happy note. Addi Lewis, 7, lives with epilepsy. As we reported in November 2019, the Tri-Cities community rallied behind her with fundraising efforts. It costs $20,000 to get a medical alert dog. Generous community donations of roughly $10,000, a $2,500 grant and a $15,000 […]

    Read more

    Four-Legged Friends On Campus

    A yellow English Labrador is among the newest members of the Loras College campus community this fall. Toksi, a service dog in training, goes to class with sophomore Ciera Hansen to help her classmates adjust to seeing service animals at the school. That will come in handy as students start to take on an active […]

    Read more

    Stolen Puppy In Denver

    Police are looking for two teens who might have been involved.Meredith) — A couple in Denver is asking for the public’s help to find their dog after they say he was stolen at gunpoint. Loki was the perfect addition for Shawn Rozinski and his girlfriend. “He’s high energy, he’s very lovable, like he just loves […]

    Read more

    PTSD Service Dogs

    esearch has shown that support dogs can speed up recovery from PTSD. Yet the cost of purchasing a service animal can be out of reach for many veterans. KMOX News discovered one local group that provides support dogs at no charge. Nicole Lanahan sits on a chair and pretends to sob. “Recon,” a German Shepherd […]

    Read more

    ESA Boogs Helps Staff

    A Delaware Valley dog has joined his owner on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing joy and hope to vulnerable adults sheltering from exposure to the virus. For the past several weeks, Boogs, a black and white Shih Tzu, has been visiting residents of Divine Providence Village (DPV), an intermediate care facility (ICF) […]

    Read more