Barking Up The Right Tree For The Healthcare Industry
They say that a dog is man’s best friend and, that’s never been more true than it is today. A dog can offer companionship, home security, a new set of eyes for the blind and, our faithful friends can even save our lives in the face of the devastating spread of Covid-19.
Most of us have never seen a year quite like 2020 in our lifetimes – and it’s only May! The arrival and rapid spread of the Coronavirus has curtailed our social activities, closed our workplaces and, has caused unimaginable losses for families and our healthcare system. As governments work to find a vaccine and a cure for the virus, the charity organisation, Medical Detection Dogs has begun training six dogs to be deployed to the UK’s airports.
Since 2008, the charity, whose patron is Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has been training dogs to detect the odour of human disease. These Bio-Detection Dogs are trained to examine samples of urine, breath and swabs in order to detect the minute changes in a person’s scent and temperature which can indicate the presence of serious diseases such as cancer and malaria. The charity’s founder, Claire Guest, now believes that the dogs could be used to identify Covid-19 asymptomatic travellers at airports. Claire says, “People are coming in and may be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic those few days when you’ve got the virus and don’t know it. A dog is sniffing each person in turn – it takes 0.5 of a second, the dog quickly identifies which people need a test and need to go straight into isolation to prevent further spread around the UK”.
The dream team
With assistance from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), six dogs are currently being trained to detect Covid-19. The team consists of three working cocker spaniels, a labrador, a labradoodle and, a labrador golden retriever. Ms Guest says that the dogs could be trained in as little as six weeks, however, funding of £500,000 is needed to successfully complete the training. Swish London are partnered with Medical Detection Dogs and have promised to donate 10% of all sales in support of their heroic work to help achieve their goal.
Clapping for canines
For most of us, a dog is a faithful companion and a valued part of our family but, these clever creatures are capable of so much more. From guide dogs for the blind to sniffer dogs keeping our airports safe to police dogs, it’s hard to overstate the incredible contribution made by our furry friends. As Norman, Digby, Storm, Star, Jasper and Asher get ready for their incredibly important new role, Medical Detection Dogs founder, Claire Guest, is in discussions with the UK government in the hopes of securing the vital funding needed.