Dogs sniff out bladder cancer

Cancer Biomark. 2010-2011;8(3):145-53. doi: 10.3233/CBM-2011-0208.
Volatile organic compounds as biomarkers of bladder cancer: Sensitivity and specificity using trained sniffer dogs.
Willis CM1, Britton LE, Harris R, Wallace J, Guest CM.
Author information
In a previous canine study, we demonstrated that volatile organic compounds specific to bladder cancer are present in urine headspace, subsequently showing that up to 70% of tumours can be correctly classified using an electronic nose. This study aimed to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity which can be achieved by a group of four trained dogs. In a series of 30 double-blind test runs, each consisting of one bladder cancer urine sample placed alongside six controls, the highest sensitivity achieved by the best performing dog was 73% (95% CI 55-86%), with the group as a whole correctly identifying the cancer samples 64% (95% CI 55-73%) of the time. Specificity of the dogs individually ranged from 92% (95% CI 82-97%) for urine samples obtained from healthy, young volunteers down to 56% (95% CI 42-68%) for those taken from older patients with non-cancerous urological disease. Odds ratio comparisons confirmed a significant decrease in performance as the extent of urine dipstick abnormality and/or pathology amongst the control population increased. Importantly, however, statistical analysis indicated that covariates such as smoking, gender and age, as well as blood, protein and /or leucocytes in the urine did not significantly alter the odds of response to the cancer samples. Our results provide further evidence that volatile biomarkers for bladder cancer exist in urine headspace, and that these have the potential to be exploited for diagnosis.
PMID: 22012770 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Dogs alert to low blood sugar

Investigation into the Value of Trained Glycaemia Alert Dogs to Clients with Type I Diabetes
Nicola J. Rooney,Steve Morant,Claire Guest

Previous studies have suggested that some pet dogs respond to their owners’ hypoglycaemic state. Here, we show that trained glycaemia alert dogs placed with clients living with diabetes afford significant improvements to owner well-being. We investigated whether trained dogs reliably respond to their owners’ hypoglycaemic state, and whether owners experience facilitated tightened glycaemic control, and wider psychosocial benefits. Since obtaining their dog, all seventeen clients studied reported positive effects including reduced paramedic call outs, decreased unconscious episodes and improved independence. Owner-recorded data showed that dogs alerted their owners, with significant, though variable, accuracy at times of low and high blood sugar. Eight out of the ten dogs (for which owners provided adequate records) responded consistently more often when their owner’s blood sugars were reported to be outside, than within, target range. Comparison of nine clients’ routine records showed significant overall change after obtaining their dogs, with seven clients recording a significantly higher proportion of routine tests within target range after obtaining a dog. HbA1C showed a small, non significant reduction after dog allocation. Based on owner-reported data we have shown, for the first time, that trained detection dogs perform above chance level. This study points to the potential value of alert dogs, for increasing glycaemic control, client independence and consequent quality of life and even reducing the costs of long-term health care.

Citation: Rooney NJ, Morant S, Guest C (2013) Investigation into the Value of Trained Glycaemia Alert Dogs to Clients with Type I Diabetes. PLoS ONE 8(8): e69921. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069921

Editor: William Hughes, University of Sussex, United Kingdom

Received: March 25, 2013; Accepted: June 13, 2013; Published: August 7, 2013

Copyright: © 2013 Rooney et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: The study was funded by the Company of Animals. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors can confirm that although the work was funded by a commercial source, The Company of Animals, this does not alter the authors’ adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

Dogs identify C.Diff in hospitals

Using a dog’s superior olfactory sensitivity to identify Clostridium difficile in stools and patients: proof of principle study
BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 13 December 2012)
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7396

“It is feasible to use a dog to detect Clostridium difficile in stool samples and in patients. The dog’s diagnostic accuracy with stool samples suggests that immediate identification of C difficile is possible. Moreover, our data suggest that the same may be true for the rapid diagnosis of C difficile infection on clinical wards. For the purposes of detection the dog did not need a stool sample or physical contact with patients. It would seem dogs can detect C difficile in the air surrounding patients. In addition, dogs are quick and efficient: patients in a hospital ward can be screened for the presence of C difficile infection in less than 10 minutes.” Read entire study below to find more information on methods and results.

Continue reading Dogs identify C.Diff in hospitals

Marines need feedback : deployment with IDD’s

For Immediate Release: Jan. 19, 2012
By Katherine H. Crawford, Office of Naval Research
Specialty canines were on a mission to sniff out trouble and display their explosive-detecting abilities Jan. 18 as part of an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-hosted “Top Dog Demo 2012.”
“These dogs have kept Marines alive by helping them move through the battle space,” said Lisa Albuquerque, program manager for ONR’s Naval Expeditionary Dog Program, part of ONR’s Expeditionary Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department. “Marines can focus on their mission because they’ve got these four-legged sensors helping to keep them safe.” Continue reading Marines need feedback : deployment with IDD’s

Military Working Dogs returning home

When U.S. President Barack Obama went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for a highly-publicized but very private meeting with the commando team that killed Osama bin Laden, only one member of the super-secret SEAL team was identified by name: “Cairo, the War Dog.”

Cairo is a Belgian Malinois, a breed similar to German shepherds but smaller and more compact. An adult male weighs in the 65 pound range. German shepherds and Labrador retrievers are still used as war dogs, but the Malinois is considered better for tandem parachute jumping and rappelling operations. The dogs parachute solo when the landing is on water. Continue reading Military Working Dogs returning home

Problems with aversive dog training

Welfare Organisations Join Forces To Highlight Problems With Aversive Dog Training Techniques, UK

23 Dec 2009

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) have joined forces with several UK animal welfare, behaviour, and training organisations (full list below) to warn of the possible dangers of using techniques for training dogs that can cause pain and fear, such as some of those seen used by Cesar Millan ‘The Dog Whisperer’, who has announced a UK tour next year. Continue reading Problems with aversive dog training