Researchers identify why a dog's nose knows

Researchers identify why a dog's nose knows

A variety of receptors and airways give dogs their super-smelling abilities.
source-image
Dec 18, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

You know that most pooches can sniff out a kibble even before the food bag has been opened. A new study sought to understand the science behind these smelling abilities. Their findings may spark more research into lifesaving machines for people.

Researchers at Penn State University in State College, Pa., created a computer model of a canine nose in hopes of understanding how air and odors reach a dog’s olfactory recess. They first scanned the nasal airway of a mixed-breed dog with high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging. Then, the researchers fitted various breeds with a special muzzle that measured the dogs’ rate of sniffing. Finally, they mapped the flow of air into the dogs’ noses to calculate the nostrils’ aerodynamic reach.

The researchers found that dogs typically sniff about five times per second, regardless of breed. They also found that when dogs sniff, each nostril pulls in a separate odor sample. Through the olfactory recess, dogs can determine which nostril is pulling in a particular scent, which tells them the correct direction to go when tracking. In addition, a dog’s nose has an airflow pattern that transports odor molecules through a single airway to the olfactory recess. Here, the odor is retained in the dog’s scent receptors, even after the dog exhales.

Why all this sniffing into the science of, well, sniffing? The findings could be useful in developing artificial nose machines that help people find narcotics, explosives, or even people trapped in disaster sites. In the meantime, you can continue your amazement with the next canine patient’s ability to smell the cat in the exam room next door.

Proceedings papers for techs

The very best behavior advice for new puppy owners (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

The entire hospital staff should play a role in the counseling of new puppy owners.

The technician's role creating a behavior centered veterinary practice (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

A focus on pet behavior in the veterinary clinic is an excellent practice builder.

Trying times--dealing with canine adolescent dog (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

A behavior wellness exam is an opportunity to check up on a pet’s behavioral health and answer any related questions a client may have.

Enriching geriatric patients' lives (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

An important time for practices to include a behavioral exam is when a pet becomes a senior.

Tubes and tracheas--all about endotracheal tubes and lesions in difficult intubations (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

Endotracheal tubes are usually made from silicone, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic or red rubber.