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Real-Time Detection of a Virus Using Detection Dogs

By T. Craig Angle, Thomas Passler, Paul L. Waggoner, Terrence D. Fischer, Bart Rogers, Patricia K. Galik, Herris S. Maxwell

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Viral infections are ubiquitous in humans, animals, and plants. Real-time methods to identify viral infections are limited and do not exist for use in harsh or resource-constrained environments. Previous research identified that tissues produce unique volatile organic compounds (VOC) and demonstrated that VOC concentrations change during pathologic states, including infection, neoplasia, or metabolic disease. Patterns of VOC expression may be pathogen specific and may be associated with an odor that could be used for disease detection. We investigated the ability of two trained dogs to detect cell cultures infected with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and to discriminate BVDV-infected cell cultures from uninfected cell cultures and from cell cultures infected with bovine herpes virus 1 (BHV 1) and bovine parainfluenza virus 3 (BPIV 3). Dogs were trained to recognize cell cultures infected with two different biotypes of BVDV propagated in Madin–Darby bovine kidney cells using one of three culture media. For detection trials, one target and seven distractors were presented on a scent wheel by a dog handler unaware of the location of targets and distractors. Detection of BVDV-infected cell cultures by Dog 1 had a diagnostic sensitivity of 0.850 (95% CI: 0.701–0.942), which was lower than Dog 2 (0.967, 95% CI: 0.837–0.994). Both dogs exhibited very high diagnostic specificity (0.981, 95% CI: 0.960–0.993) and (0.993, 95% CI: 0.975–0.999), respectively. These findings demonstrate that trained dogs can differentiate between cultured cells infected with BVDV, BHV1, and BPIV3 and are a realistic real-time mobile pathogen sensing technology for viral pathogens. The ability to discriminate between target and distractor samples plausibly results from expression of unique VOC patterns in virus-infected and -uninfected cells.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2016
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 2
Issue 79
Publisher Frontiers
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2015.00079
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animals in culture
  4. Canine scent detection
  5. Dogs
  6. Health
  7. Mammals
  8. odors
  9. Physical environment
  10. Social Environments
  11. Virus diseases
  12. Working animals