Dogs are a deployable and mobile sensor that can be used in a wide variety of environmental conditions and operational settings, humanitarian assistance, stability operations, natural disasters and other emergency response needs by conventional forces and Special Operations. The DoD’s use of dogs is perhaps best known as explosive-sniffing canines deployed to detect improvised explosive devices buried in the field.  However, utilizing dogs in other roles, such as for mobile real-time detection of biological targets, would benefit the DoD in a variety of other missions, including CBRNE detection, industrial chemicals, pollution, and illicit substances, as well as acting as a medical sensor for human and animal diseases. This article highlights the use of dogs in operational environments.
Pathogen infection by natural disease outbreak is the leading cause of death worldwide in plants, animals and humans. In addition, bioterrorism is a serious threat to world populations and food sources. Scientists have been investigating technologies that aid in early detection of pathogens to prevent the spread of natural disease outbreak and bioterrorism activities. Recent advancements in analytical chemistry demonstrate that pathogen infections produce unique volatile organic profiles or odors.
Production of cellular volatile organic compounds occurs in millions of cells simultaneously, thus releasing extracellular VOC on a detectable scale. These VOC enter the blood stream and release into the air around a human, animal or plant. The mechanism of the release is through breath, urine, feces, skin emanations and blood.  The VOC profile of an individual reflects their health status and provides a sample to use for diagnostic purposes.
Read full article here: https://www.hdiac.org/node/3861