This week, we would like to talk about a topic with which many of us are somewhat familiar: canine detection in a medical setting. Stories about trained canines detecting cancer in patients are widely known. With the current COVID 19 health pandemic affecting people around the globe, researchers in the UK are trying to apply this canine capability to the new threat.
Canine detection in a medical context has targeted early cancer diagnosis as a way to treat and prevent the disease as early as possible. As many of us are aware, our four-legged friends have receptors in their noses that are 10,000 times more accurate than humans’. This allows for dogs to use this impressive sense to differentiate blood cells of those with cancer with almost 97 percent accuracy. As anyone who has a hound can tell you, canine noses are a powerful motivator for our pups. However, it takes a lot of training to develop this skill. Researchers are now trying to develop this impressive ability to target a danger we are experiencing every day.
Recently, researchers at Durham University in the United Kingdom have investigated developing scent dogs to detect COVID 19. This group has previously found that springer spaniels could detect blood samples infected with malaria. One of the factors that the potential pooches would target is “through subtle changes in their skin temperature, which may be indicative of a fever,” according to Professor James Logan, Head of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). What seems to be the most valuable aspect of this possible treatment is the fact that these pups could screen up to 250 people per hour. The methods used to train dogs to detect cancer and other diseases could be used in this context as well.
We will be keeping an eye out for developments regarding this story in the coming weeks. With our company focus being on the application and development of canine training and training aids, we are particularly excited to see a new way to ensure those with COVID 19 are treated early.
Please stay safe and check in with us again next week for more stories about detection canines!