VMLY&R and KDog join forces in project to train abandoned dogs to become medical detection dogs

Dogs Without Borders is a unique project that trains abandoned dogs to become medical detection dogs that can diagnose people living in remote communities
Two people with a dog in the desert

The following article was originally published by PM Live.

Over half of the world's population still has limited access to critical medical diagnostics – especially those living in remote communities. Early detection is vital to survive cancer and many other diseases, yet in some regions, patients must travel for days to reach hospitals and medical centres to perform basic health checks.

'Dogs Without Borders' is a project created by VMLY&R Health for KDog, a canine medical detection unit that was originally founded by the renowned Curie Institute in Paris. The project trains rescued dogs to detect cancer and other diseases so they can provide valuable medical detection resources to remote communities. 

Remote communities often lack electricity and/or the machinery to offer basic medical services and diagnostics; despite the evidence that early detection saves or extends lives. With training, dogs can smell breast cancer and other types of cancer – even before tumours are formed – as well as many other diseases such as malaria, diabetes, and COVID-19, with nearly 100% accuracy. At the same time, millions of dogs around the world are euthanised every year with acute overcrowding in stray dog kennels. This innovative project offers a sustainable and scalable solution to both issues.     

In bone-shaped capsules, odour collection kits containing materials and instructions allow the patient to collect, protect and preserve their samples. These kits are distributed to people living in locations such as the Amazon and the Sahara Desert. After collection, local medical detection dogs smell the samples and if disease is detected, the patient is notified and sent for further analysis and treatment.

Claire Gillis, chief executive officer of VMLY&R Health, commented: “This project was created to service the unmet medical needs of many patients who can’t access regular check-ups or diagnostics. People living in remote areas only make the journey to see a doctor when they experience symptoms. By the time they get diagnosed, it’s often too late. The increasing problem of stray dogs in many of these regions and the clinically proven success of medical detection dogs gave us the idea – save dogs’ lives so they can save the lives of people living in remote areas. It’s a privilege to launch such a sustainable, symbiotic, and scalable solution that can change health outcomes for so many.”     

Dr Carla Ismael, KDog chief executive officer, added: “Dogs Without Borders is a unique project that delivers a scalable solution to two longstanding issues – abandoned dogs left to die and remote communities without basic diagnostics. It gives people living in isolated areas access to diagnostic healthcare for the first time.” 

To find out more about Dogs Without Borders, visit https://dogswb.com/.

KDog, the Cancer Detect Group, was founded in Paris at the Currie Institute and also has offices in Brazil, It specialises in training medical detection dogs to detect breast cancer. More about its work and medical detection dogs can be found at https://kdog.institut-curie.org/page/origins-and-future-kdog.

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