Who is Medical Detection Dogs?

Medical Detection Dogs is a charity which train dogs to detect the odour of human disease with the aim of developing faster, more efficient, and less invasive diagnostics that lead to better patient outcomes.


What are the dogs detecting?

With their incredible sense of smell dogs can detect the minute odours now understood to be associated with many cancers and other diseases. Bio Detection Dogs are trained to detect the odour of volatiles associated with the disease present in urine, faecal, skin swabs or breath samples. The dogs work on samples in the BioDetection room at the training centre.


Does Medical Detection Dogs use specific breeds of dogs for BioDetection?

All dogs and breeds have the capability to detect cancer, other diseases, and crisis situations in humans. However, because Bio Detection dogs screen samples on a carousel, the charity often selects working breeds with a high hunt drive such as Labradors and working spaniels and are chosen according to their ability. It is important that they have good noses and love searching and hunting for toys. There are also currently breeds such as a Hovawart and a GSP on the team!




How long does it take to train a BioDetection dog?

The length of time to train a BioDetection dog varies depending on several things, such as the odour they are being trained to detect, the sample type they are using, and the dog itself (all dogs learn at different speeds, the same as humans). It generally takes 6-8 months for a dog to reach a good level of performance. Training method is reward based and the charity uses clicker training for all its Bio-Detection work. Dogs are rewarded with a food treat or tennis ball play when they make an accurate assessment of the samples they are working on.




How often do the BioDetection Dogs work?

They come into work at the Medical Detection Dogs centre in Great Horwood up to 4 days a week, and work for short periods of up to about 20 minutes at a time. There are lots of opportunities for rest and playtime. The dogs view their work as a great game that they love playing.



Where do they live?

The charity has a no-kennel policy. All the BioDetection dogs live in homes as part of a caring family with fantastic volunteer fosterers, and lead normal, happy lives as pet dogs. They are dropped off in the morning and picked up in the evening.


What is Medical Detection Dogs' aim?

The dogs have the capacity to provide second line diagnostic support for cancers that are currently difficult to diagnose reliably, such as prostate cancer. With Medical Detection Dogs’ research this will also inform and enable the development of electronic systems using the information that the dogs have told us.




Do you want to help support Medical Detection dogs?

There’s several ways you could help, by donations - https://www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk/giving/

You could even start fundraising or even become a volunteer, with the more support and donations, Medical Detection Dogs have a better chance at advance training and be able to help with diagnose in the future.






August 01, 2022 — Reece Hussain