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Twelve certified narcotic detection canines were tested for their ability to detect confiscated illegal synthetic cathinones (bath salts). These canine teams were randomly assigned to two different groups and each group imprinted on one of two types of bath salts, ethylone and alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP), over the period of 1 month; while simultaneously documenting the imprinting procedure. The newly imprinted canines were validated by field testing and found to not only detect the imprinted bath salt to which they were trained, but they were able to detect other bath salts. The imprinting procedure and results are the first scientifically validated studies on the ability of canines to detect these harmful and illegal substances. Analytical headspace analysis using Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) on several ethylone and α-PVP samples revealed compounds common in both. These compounds can be used to create a safe and reliable synthetic cathinone mimic training aid for canine teams.


Originally published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

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