Our cookies

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website.
You can allow or reject non essential cookies or manage them individually.

Reject allAllow all

More options  •  Cookie policy

Our cookies

Allow all

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website. You can allow all or manage them individually.

You can find out more on our cookie page at any time.

EssentialThese cookies are needed for essential functions such as logging in and making payments. Standard cookies can’t be switched off and they don’t store any of your information.
AnalyticsThese cookies help us collect information such as how many people are using our site or which pages are popular to help us improve customer experience. Switching off these cookies will reduce our ability to gather information to improve the experience.
FunctionalThese cookies are related to features that make your experience better. They enable basic functions such as social media sharing. Switching off these cookies will mean that areas of our website can’t work properly.

Save preferences

pigs faceUsing canine olfaction to detect bovine respiratory disease


Year: 2021

Dr Courtney Daigle
Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, USA

Grant: £3,179


Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) is difficult to diagnose and is a leading cause of poor welfare in beef cattle. As a prey species, cattle are able to mask behavioural indicators of disease. Additionally, BRD involves a combination of multiple viral and bacterial pathogens that exist commensally, yet become virulent under stressful conditions, making diagnostic testing difficult. The current industry standard method of identifying cattle with BRD is the Clinical Illness Scoring (CIS) system, which uses the presence or absence of specific illness signs. However, CIS may be unreliable, suggesting that many cattle with BRD are neither diagnosed nor receive necessary health treatments.     

Canine olfaction is a promising approach for screening for BRD. Studies using dogs to detect a variety of diseases, including bacterial and viral infections, have reported high sensitivity and specificity, suggesting that canine olfaction is a promising non-invasive disease screening technology. Dogs have been documented to detect bovine viral diarrhoea virus, which is involved in  BRD, in cell culture samples Prior to conducting trials with live cattle, validating that dogs can distinguish the scents produced by BRD-infected and healthy cattle in a controlled environment is necessary.

The overall aim of the project is to develop a methodology for accurately detecting BRD in cattle using canine olfaction. To accomplish this, we have three objectives. 

·       Objective 1: Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the current state of the literature published on the use of canine olfaction for disease detection.

·       Objective 2: Develop training skills for teaching dogs to detect disease via olfaction.

·       Objective 3: Establish a proof of concept that dogs can be used as a potentially rapid, mobile, and accurate screening method for BRD by demonstrating that BRD can be reliably detected by dogs in a laboratory environment.

Publication: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2022.105664