Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin



    Short communication:
    ability of dogs to detect cows in estrus from sniffing saliva samples (2013)

    Zeitschriftenartikel / wissenschaftlicher Beitrag
    Fischer-Tenhagen, C (WE 19)
    Tenhagen, B-A
    Heuwieser, W (WE 19)
    Journal of Dairy Science; 96(2) — S. 1081–1084
    ISSN: 0022-0302
    URL (Volltext): http://edocs.fu-berlin.de/docs/receive/FUDOCS_document_000000019643
    DOI: 10.3168/jds.2012-5683
    Pubmed: 23261382
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    Abstract / Zusammenfassung

    Efficient estrus detection in high-producing dairy cows is a permanent challenge for successful reproductive performance. In former studies, dogs have been trained to identify estrus-specific odor in vaginal fluid, milk, urine, and blood samples under laboratory conditions with an accuracy of more than 80%. For on-farm utilization of estrus-detection dogs it would be beneficial in terms of hygiene and safety if dogs could identify cows from the feed alley. The objective of this proof of concept study was to test if dogs can be trained to detect estrus-specific scent in saliva of cows. Saliva samples were collected from cows in estrus and diestrus. Thirteen dogs of various breeds and both sexes were trained in this study. Five dogs had no experience in scent detection, whereas 8 dogs had been formerly trained for detection of narcotics or cancer. In the training and test situation, dogs had to detect 1 positive out of 4 samples. Dog training was based on positive reinforcement and dogs were rewarded with a clicker and food for indicating saliva samples of cows in estrus. A false indication was ignored and documented in the test situation. Dogs with and without prior training were trained for 1 and 5 d, respectively. For determining the accuracy of detection, the position of the positive sample was unknown to the dog handler, to avoid hidden cues to the dog. The overall percentage of correct positive indications was 57.6% (175/304), with a range from 40 (1 dog) to 75% (3 dogs). To our knowledge, this is the first indication that dogs are able to detect estrus-specific scent in saliva of cows.