VML: KDog’s Dogs Without Borders

People standing with a medical detection dog in the desert

VML: KDog’s Dogs Without Borders

Turning abandoned dogs into medical detection dogs

Over half of the world's population still has limited access to critical medical diagnostics – especially those living in remote communities. In these isolated areas, many premature deaths could be avoided with just a simple test. 

There is also a global problem of stray dogs. These are dogs who, if trained, could live happy and productive lives. It made sense to bring these two issues together to deliver a solution for both. 

Trained medical dogs can detect cancer and many other diseases with nearly 100% accuracy. And they can reach places doctors and diagnostics can’t. So VML worked in partnership with KDog and SFBO, a renowned international cancer research group, to create Dogs Without Borders — a first-of-its-kind initiative that trains rescue dogs to sniff out disease.

Detection is possible thanks to a bone-shaped “odour collection kit” handed to locals with all the information they need for the collection of samples: visual instructions, soap, gauze and a thermal ziplock bag for the sample itself.  

The kit is designed to withstand harsh environments. After collection, the odour samples are sniffed by the dogs. The sooner they sniff them, the sooner patients can be sent for further analysis and treatment.  

“Dogs Without Borders is a unique project that delivers a scalable solution to two longstanding issues – abandoned dogs left to die and remote communities without basic diagnostics. It gives people living in isolated areas access to diagnostic healthcare for the first time.” Dr Carla Ismael, Chief Executive Officer, – KDog 

Over 1,000 patients have been diagnosed, across three different continents. The collected samples not only help save lives that could be lost if patients go undiagnosed, but they also become a tool for future research and dog training.  

With dogs being able to detect diseases like cancer with 100% accuracy, the governments in certain countries like Brazil are already in conversations with SFBO to make our four-legged friends part of the public health system.