Veterinarians Working to Protect Animals Who Protect Us
Cynthia Otto, DVM of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, to host the 2011 Penn Vet Working Dog Conference, marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11
Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) August 10, 2011
Heroic, brave, hardworking and courageous are common words we use to describe those who help us, such as military soldiers, policemen and rescue teams. However, most people tend to forget about the canine companions that accompany our human heroes during rescue missions. Working dogs assist human efforts during major disasters, wartime and border protection. As a devoted researcher to the study of working dogs, Dr. Cindy Otto, a doctor of veterinary medicine at Penn Vet Working Dog Center, will be hosting a working dog conference the weekend of September 11 in hopes of helping the dogs that help us.
The 2011 conference, “Defining, Developing and Documenting Success in Working Dogs,” will be held September 7 through 9 in Pearl River, N.Y. and feature experts from around the world who will discuss topics regarding puppy selection and development; performance testing and certification; and physical conditioning of working dogs. According to Dr. Otto, one of the overall goals is to generate conversations about making advancements to benefit the working dog. Furthermore, it is important to increase the public awareness about the inspiring work of detection dogs and the risks they face while serving an honorable cause.
“Our mission is to share the knowledge available to improve the health, breeding and performance of working dogs,” says Dr. Otto. “Only about 30% of the dogs bred become successful working dogs and I hope the discussions from the conference will lead to improved solutions in ensuring their success on the field.”
In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of September 11, the conference will be held together with Finding One Another: 10th Anniversary Tribute to the Search and Rescue Community of 9/11, whose efforts include paying tribute to the incredible work of dogs and humans during September 11 and supporting the needs and care of the Search and Rescue (SAR) community.
Dr. Otto has also been working with the search and rescue dogs that participated in recovery operations for September 11 in a study that has been monitoring the health of these dogs over the past few years. Out of the 300 dogs that responded, about 25% of these dogs are still living and study results reveal that despite the exposure to massive clouds of toxins, the SAR dogs do not show major differences, such as respiratory or cancer problems, compared to the control dogs.
The results from Dr. Otto’s study help better equip veterinarians who care for dogs that work under similarly unique conditions and are exposed to toxic risks. Spreading available information helps improve the health, breeding and performance of working dogs, and ultimately, contributes valuable knowledge to the vets working with dogs that help us.
Penn Vet works endlessly to support research that will enhance the breeding, selection and training of working dogs. For example, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center is involved with the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery DNA Bank project that takes DNA samples from detection dogs and identifies genetic markers found in these dogs that are not shown in non-working dogs. This research project also aims to identify health issues that affect both the comfort and working lifespan of detection dogs. In return, the data is used to perform “genotyping of markers” in order to find a link between health or working traits and specific regions of the dog genome.
Dr. Otto explains, “As our research projects show, PVWDC seeks to collect and analyze genetic, behavioral and physical data and to use the information to protect the success and well-being of our working dogs.”
For more information on the 2011 Penn Vet Working Dog Conference or to schedule an interview with Dr. Otto, please contact Natalie Kay or Kelly Stratton.
About the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the world’s premier veterinary schools. Founded in 1884, the school was built on the concept of Many Species, One MedicineTM. The birthplace of veterinary specialties, the school serves a distinctly diverse array of animal patients at its two campuses, from companion animals to horses to farm animals.
The School has two campuses. In Philadelphia, on Penn’s campus, are the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Ryan-VHUP) for companion animals; classrooms; research laboratories; and the School’s administrative offices. The large-animal facility, New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square, PA, includes the George D. Widener Veterinary Hospital for large animals; diagnostic laboratories serving the agriculture industry; and research facilities to determine new treatment and diagnostic measures for large-animal diseases.
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