Detector Dogs: Uses

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ambience: dog barking

Scent detecting dogs routinely search for bombs and drugs, but some are also being trained to sniff out some more unusual odors. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. For nearly twelve thousand years, humans have made use of the canine sense of smell on hunting expeditions. Lately though, dogs are being used to detect a whole range of things — even disease. Lawrence Myers is a professor of veterinary medicine at Auburn University in Alabama.

“A scent detecting dog is a dog that is trained to detect a some target that has a unique odor associated. Ah,examples would be, bomb dogs, drug dogs, arson dogs, they even have termite dogs and brown tree snake dogs these days. “I’ve had friends who have trained dogs to detect gypsy moth larval masses, and I helped a group in Canada train dogs to detect leaks in pipe lines. They detect a lot of strange things.”

To keep confusion to a minimum, the dogs are usually trained to locate one specific scent, whether it’s termites or pipe leaks. The sensitivity of the canine nose extends to a microscopic level. Recently, Myers and his colleagues have been trying to train dogs to detect cancer.

ambience: dog sniffing

“Right now we’re not far enough to know whether or not it might be a whole body search or just an evaluation of a spot on the skin. The thing is, if there is a spot on the skin that is suspicious, a dermatologist is going to biopsy it and you’re going to tell that way. Where a dog would be truly more useful would be in situations where there is no obvious spot.”

According to Lawrence Myers, this canine cancer screening won’t be available until more training, and more research, is done. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

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Detector Dogs: Uses

With the sensitivity to detect odors at a microscopic level, researchers believe dogs may one day sniff out disease.
Air Date:08/20/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: dog barking

Scent detecting dogs routinely search for bombs and drugs, but some are also being trained to sniff out some more unusual odors. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. For nearly twelve thousand years, humans have made use of the canine sense of smell on hunting expeditions. Lately though, dogs are being used to detect a whole range of things -- even disease. Lawrence Myers is a professor of veterinary medicine at Auburn University in Alabama.

"A scent detecting dog is a dog that is trained to detect a some target that has a unique odor associated. Ah,examples would be, bomb dogs, drug dogs, arson dogs, they even have termite dogs and brown tree snake dogs these days. "I’ve had friends who have trained dogs to detect gypsy moth larval masses, and I helped a group in Canada train dogs to detect leaks in pipe lines. They detect a lot of strange things."

To keep confusion to a minimum, the dogs are usually trained to locate one specific scent, whether it's termites or pipe leaks. The sensitivity of the canine nose extends to a microscopic level. Recently, Myers and his colleagues have been trying to train dogs to detect cancer.

ambience: dog sniffing

"Right now we’re not far enough to know whether or not it might be a whole body search or just an evaluation of a spot on the skin. The thing is, if there is a spot on the skin that is suspicious, a dermatologist is going to biopsy it and you’re going to tell that way. Where a dog would be truly more useful would be in situations where there is no obvious spot."

According to Lawrence Myers, this canine cancer screening won't be available until more training, and more research, is done. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music