DDDPROJECT – DISEASE DETECTING DOG PROJECT was created in response to the need for research on the ability of dogs to detect the odor of the disease.
We are the team of the dog scientists and trainers who are passionate about the possibilities of a dog’s sense of smell and the practical aspect of using it. The project managers are Dr. Agata Kokocińska-Kusiak and DVM Martyna Woszczyło. The founder of the team, Dr. Agata Kokocińska-Kusiak, has been conducting research on the detection of diseases by animals for many years, including defending her doctoral dissertation: Identification of odorous melanoma biomarkers in mouse urine using behavioral and analytical methods. These studies were published in the renowned scientific journal Journal of Veterinary Behavior (JVEB_2019_138R1) in the article Can mice be trained to discriminate urine odor of conspecifics with melanoma before clinical symptoms appear? (Kokocińska-Kusiak A. et al. 2020). This work turned out to be crucial, as it proved that changes in the profile of volatile organic compounds appear before any clinical changes so that can be detected at such an early stage of disease development (Kokocińska-Kusiak A. et al. 2020, Overall, 2020). DVM Martyna Woszczyło specializes in the analysis of the canine sense of smell and studies the role of pheromones and their influence on behavior in dogs. Her key article, „The Role of Urine in Semiochemical Communication between Females and Males of Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris) during Estrus”, was published in the prestigious journal Animals (Woszczyło M. et al. 2020), contributing important, previously unexplored information to the knowledge about the ethogram of dogs . Dr. Kokocińska-Kusiak and DVM Martyna Woszczyło also created a project to investigate the spontaneous smell preferences of dogs, the results of which were presented at the international Dog Olfactory Conference 2020 (https://doc.dddproject.eu), which they are also organizers. The project of olfactory preferential research turned out to be groundbreaking and innovative, and the methodology used in the study was very universal and reliable.
Our Chief Dog Training Instructors Artur Łazarczyk and Szymon Migas have been specializing in various types of training for years, including the detection of disease odors. They participate in preparing dogs for behavioral research and in preparing scientific projects from the perspective of working with dogs.
Assistant trainer: Iga Paczyńska.
The main goal of the project is to create a specialized dog training center that prepares dogs to detect samples from sick people (cancer, diabetes, and others), but also to alert disease attacks, to make life easier for people suffering from diabetes, epilepsy, and other diseases. Properly trained dogs, in addition to signaling the attack (alert dog), can also be taught to provide basic assistance during and immediately after an attack (reponse dog). Dogs detecting the smell of disease can be used in times of epidemic, in order to rapidly screen people who are a potential carrier of the disease (e.g. the coronavirus causing COVID-19).
-> The development of the most effective dog training protocol by scientists and trainers.
-> Introducing dogs to public spaces to search for people who are carriers of the coronavirus.
-> Dog training for people in need, incl. signaling an attack (suffering from diabetes or epilepsy).
The possibilities of using the dog’s sense of smell and training possibilities are very well proven in the scientific literature. In the last dozen or so years, about 15 experimental studies have been published showing the ability of trained dogs to distinguish the smell of samples of exhaled air, urine, feces or sections of neoplastic tissue from patients with various histopathologically diagnosed neoplasms, such as: lung cancer (McCulloch et al. 2006, Walczak i et al. 2012, Ehmann et al. 2012, Amundsen et al. 2014), breast cancer (McCulloch et al. 2006, Gordon et al. 2008), prostate cancer (Cornu et al. 2011, Elliker et al. 2014, Taverna et al. 2015), ovary (Horvath et al. 2008), bladder (Willis et al. 2004), colon (Sonoda et al. 2011), from odor samples from healthy individuals.
Dogs are also known to alert people to episodes of hypoglycemia in people with type 1 diabetes (Hardin et al. 2015) or to alert people to a seizure (Strong, et al. 1999). Edney (1993) described the behavior of 37 dogs that reacted to their owners’ epilepsy. Dogs trained to warn their owners of impending epileptic seizures were able to consistently point out to their owners that an attack was imminent, with a warning 10 to 45 minutes before the attack (Strong et al., 1999, Brown and Strong, 2001). More than a third of people with diabetes reported that their dogs responded to their attacks of hypoglycemia (Lim et al., 1992, cited in Chen et al., 2000). In three cases, dogs were reported to detect a hypoglycemic attack before their owners noticed any symptoms (Chen et al., 2000).
COVID-19 is an acute infectious respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Despite enormous efforts to control the disease, COVID-19 has now spread to over 100 countries and caused a global pandemic (Shi et al. 2020). Literature data indicate the possibility of effective use of properly trained dogs to detect the odor of the disease, and therefore can be used to identify potential carriers of the coronavirus. This process can improve screening and checks in public places. The project aims to improve the fight against the coronavirus epidemic by quickly indicating by dogs people who are worth undergoing diagnostic tests.
Our team of specialists, scientists and dog trainers under the supervision of dr Agata Kokocińska-Kusiak in cooperation with the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław, The National Revenue Administration (NRA) and the Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. K. Kaczkowski is currently working on a project involving the implementation of dogs for coronavirus detection. We are currently waiting for the award of grants.
Can mice be trained to discriminate urine odor of conspecifics with melanoma before clinical symptoms appear?
Agata Kokocinska-Kusiak, Joanna Matalińsk, Mariusz Sacharczuk, Magdalena Sobczyńska, Katarzyna Góral-Radziszewska, Beata Wileńska, Aleksandra Misicka, Tadeusz Jezierski, Journal of Veterinary Behavior Volume 39, September–October 2020, Pages 64-76
The Role of Urine in Semiochemical Communication between Females and Males of Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris) during Estrus
Martyna Woszczyło , Tadeusz Jezierski , Antoni Szumny, Wojciech Niżański, Michał Dzięcioł, Received: 18 September 2020; Accepted: 12 November 2020; Published: 13 November 2020, Animals
Effects of novel odours on the mating behaviour in mice
Agata Kokocińska, John Ensminger, Tadeusz Jezierski 2017/7/1, Animal Science Papers and Reports
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