Wildlife Ethology & Canine Olfaction Lab

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Biomedical alert and detection dogs (and specifically currently: psychiatric service dogs)

This research program started in 2012. It is currently (April 2024 onward) funded by the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF). Only the Psychiatric service dogs for PTSD and CUD is ongoing.

Psychiatric service dogs for PTSD and CUD (Cannabis Use Disorder)

Investigators: Drs Simon Gadbois, Sherry Stewart, Sue Budge, Pablo Romero
PhD (IDPHD) student: Laura Kiiroja (Gadbois lab)

Ketosis detection in dairy cows

Investigators: Drs Simon Gadbois and Miriam Gordon
Masters student: Amy Byers (Harrington)

Hypoglycaemia detection for Type I diabetes

Elizabeth Cummings (paediatric endocrinologist at the IWK), Elizabeth McLaughlin (paediatric health psychologist at the IWK) and myself are involved in a research program for Hypoglycaemia Detection Canines for youth with Type I diabetes. Catherine Reeve, was the graduate student associated with this project.

Investigators: Drs Simon Gadbois1, Elizabeth Cummings12, Elizabeth McLaughlin3

1: Dalhousie University, Halifax 2: IWK Health Centre, Halifax


Kiiroja, L., Gadbois, S., & Stewart, S.H. (submitted; invited chapter). A critical analysis of service dogs in the context of canine-assisted interventions for PTSD. Chapter in “Human-Animal Interactions in the Global Context of Climate Change, Disasters, and Other Crises”. Eds: Haorui Wu, Kyle Breen, and Sarah DeYoung.

Kiiroja, L., Stewart, S.H., & Gadbois, S. (2024). Can scent detection dogs detect the stress associated with trauma cue exposure in people with trauma histories? a proof-of-concept study. Frontiers in Allergy: Section Rhinology [Research Topic Emerging Insights in Olfaction], 28, 1–22.

Reeve, C., Wilson, C., Hanna, D. & Gadbois, S. (2021). Dog Owners’ Survey reveals Medical Alert Dogs can alert to multiple conditions and multiple people. PLoS ONE, 16, 1–19. https://doi. org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249191

Reeve, C., Cummings, E., McLaughlin, E.,Smith, S., Gadbois, S. (2020). An idiographic investigation of diabetic alert dogs’ ability to learn from a small sample set. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 44, 37–43; doi.org/10.1016/j.jcjd.2019.04.020

Gadbois, S, & Reeve, C. (2016). The semiotic canine: scent processing dogs as research assistants in biomedical and environmental research. Dog Behaviour, 2, 26–32. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4454/db.v2i3.43

Reeve, C., Wentzell, P., Wielens, B., Jones, C., Stehouwer, K., & Gadbois, S. (2018). Assessing individual performance and maintaining breath sample integrity in biomedical detection dogs.Behavioural Processes, 155, 8–18; doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2017.08.008

Other biomedical contributions:

Koivusalo, M., Vermeiren, C., Yuen, J., Reeve, C., Gadbois, S., & Katz, K. (2017). Canine scent detection as a tool to distinguish methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from other Staphylococci. Journal of Hospital Infection, 96, 93–96.

For further information, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Gadbois at sgadbois@dal.ca