Hershey and Trace have been trained to search for microbial odor and to detect the source. This is a very successful method for locating hidden microbial damage. Microorganisms grow frequently in hidden places, e.g., behind wall linings, in floors, or behind installations. They are often not visible from the outside. Often, health complaints occur even after the moisture damage has dried, sometimes even only then. In these cases, moisture measurements are not suitable to localize the microorganisms.
Besides spores and other particles, microorganisms emit gaseous substances (microbial volatile organic compounds = MVOC).The MVOCs are still emitted from the contaminated material long after the microorganism has died.Dogs can be trained to search for microbial odor and to detect the source. This is a very successful method for locating hidden microbial damage.
The mold dog, however, must be correctly trained, led, and interpreted. In some cases, it is the only applicable method to find spots damaged by microorganisms. During a building inspection, the dog is accompanied by a professional dog handler and an experienced consultant. At places where the dog marks a microbial odor, samples must be taken for microbial analysis. By this well directed procedure, destruction of material is unnecessary and additional costs can be avoided.
- From a single drop of urine, the sniffing dog learns the marking animal’s sex, diet, health, emotional state, and even whether it’s dominant or submissive, friend or foe.
- Tracking dogs follow a biochemical trail of dead skin cells, sweat, odor molecules, and gasses. For dogs, a scent article is like a three-dimensional “odor image” – much more detailed than a photograph is for a person.
- Dogs can track a scent through snow, air, mud, water, and even ash.
The properly trained and certified detection dog is recognized in court as a “scientific instrument” (US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals)
- According to a report prepared by the Institute for Biological Detection Systems (IBDS) of Auburn University (Auburn, AL), dogs have the following capabilities:
Documented limits of olfactory detection for the dog range from tens of parts per billion to 500 parts per trillion.
Dogs are extremely good at discriminating a target vapor from non-target vapors that are also present, even at relatively high concentrations of non-target odors.
- Odor Signatures:
When being trained to detect a substance, dogs learn to alert to one or two of its most abundant vapor compounds.
- Multiple Odor Discriminations:
Dogs can easily learn as many as ten odor discriminations.