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Medical Detection Dogs Trained to Sniff Covid-19

It isn’t often you write a blog post that could change your life! However the fabulous Medical Detection Dogs have received a government grant to train up six sniffer dogs to help to sniff out Covid -19.

This could have a deep and lasting effect on our lives whether you care about dogs or not they could be our saviours. Six special sniffer dogs have been carefully chosen to be fully trained to detect this virus and if successful could be a secret weapon against the fight against this disease.

The chosen few dogs are are Norman, Digby, Storm, Star, Jasper and Asher. Each has a super sniffers profile on the Medical Detection Dogs website.

For the first time, the Government has recognised the impact that dogs can have in fighting disease by supporting a project to investigate whether they can play a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

These sniffer dogs have wide ranging roles and these dogs are trained specifically to detect something particular, so it might be a disease like Parkinsons or it might be for bacterial infections but these dogs are trained to use their acute scent to sniff out a specific disease.

Such is the nature of this not for profit organisation, that you have to admire the work they do and the significant benefit they are to society.

Once trained, these dogs could also be used to help with screening at with the rapid screening at key points of entry to identify travellers entering the country infected with the virus. These dogs have an incredibly sensitive nose which can be used to identify those that have the virus.

The government has funded Medical Detection Dogs to the tune of £500,000 which is great news as they bid to find a way of tracking infected people.

Dr Claire Guest, CEO and Co-Founder of Medical Detection Dogs, said: “We are delighted that the government has given us the opportunity to demonstrate that dogs can play a role in the fight against COVID-19. They have the potential to help by quickly screening people, which will be vital as the country moves out of lockdown.  Hopefully this will prevent a second peak and enable precious NHS resources to be used where most needed.

“We have already demonstrated our expertise in canine disease detection by successfully training dogs to detect diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and malaria, and we apply that same science to train life-saving Medical Alert Assistance Dogs to detect odour changes in individuals caused by their health condition.

“We are sure our dogs will be able to find the odour of COVID-19 and we will then move into a second phase to test them in live situations, following which we hope to work with other agencies to train more dogs for deployment. We are incredibly proud that a dog’s nose could once again save many lives.”

Current medical detection dogs working with other diseases can screen as many as 250 people per hour and can be trained to detect the odour of a disease at the equivalent dilution to one teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic-sized swimming pools of water. This is incredible when you start to contemplate this and it really shows just how sensitive a dogs nose is.

You have to take your hat off to the great work these dogs are doing and hope that the trial is a huge success. These working dogs can help to save so many lives and make us realise what an important role dogs make to us all.

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