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Biomedical Scent Detection Dogs: Would They Pass as a Health Technology?

By Mirkka Koivusalo, Catherine Reeve

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Biomedical scent detection dogs identify the scent profiles of diseases, such as cancer, diabetes or pathogenic micro-organisms.  What the field of biomedical scent detection has been lacking, however, is the assessment of the method from the point of view of a health technology. All health technologies undergo a thorough evaluation of safety, clinical effectiveness and costs, as well as ethical, social, organizational and legal evaluations in some cases. Passing these regulatory controls is a pre-requisite before a technology is approved for use in decision-making about patient outcomes. Biomedical scent detection has a lot of attractive qualities, such as the sensitivity and specificity of the dogs’ noses, safety and relative cost-effectiveness. But the method also has various challenges, in particular regarding its clinical effectiveness. The most pertinent issues to address before the dogs would pass as a health technology are standardization the training techniques, both intra- and inter-dog reproducibility, and generalization of the detection task to early stages of disease progression. We suggest setting realistic goals in terms of what the dogs can and cannot do and a collaborative approach between clinicians and animal psychophysicists.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2018
Publication Title Pet Behavior Science
Volume 6
Pages 7
ISBN/ISSN 2445-2874
DOI 10.21071/pbs.v0i6.10785
URL http://www.uco.es/ucopress/ojs/index.php/pet/article/view/10785
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal roles
  2. Assessment
  3. Biomedical research
  4. Canine scent detection
  5. Dogs
  6. Health
  7. Mammals
  8. open access
  9. technology
  10. training
  11. Working animals
Badges
  1. open access