Training dogs to detect cancer


Based in Dunedin, K9 Medical Detection NZ Charitable Trust (K9MD) trains dogs for the early non-invasive detection of cancer and other diseases.

The University of Otago is its clinical partner, and K9MD is the only organisation in New Zealand carrying out canine training for the early detection of bowel cancer and prostate cancer.

K9MD plans to soon start detection training for ovarian cancer.

It is crucial that the clinical environment in which the K9MD dogs train is kept at an even temperature.

Cancer samples supplied by the university are prepared in one of the two K9MD laboratories before being placed into specialised scent detection equipment in the canine training rooms.

Extensive data is recorded from every training session including the vital room temperature and humidity.

Fujitsu General New Zealand, alongside McClelland Refrigeration, have partnered with K9 Medical Detection NZ to ensure that all the training rooms are kept at the correct temperature.

Without the certainty of knowing that the environment in which the K9MD dogs work will always remain constant, any results from the trials could be compromised.

When not training the K9MD dogs rest in special quiet rooms.

Once again, McClelland Refrigeration and Fujitsu General New Zealand make sure that the rooms remain cool in summer and warm in winter so that the dogs can return to the training rooms rested and refreshed.

With one person dying from cancer every hour in New Zealand such important work needs the best facilities, the best dogs, the best trainers, and New Zealand’s favourite air.