The Finnish Kennel Club will provide funding of €20,000 in total towards research related to covid dogs carried out at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki. The Kennel Club encourages other organisations involved in activities for dog owners to join in and provide funding for the relevant research that could prove groundbreaking in terms of people’s health and keeping society up and running.

The study carried out by Anna Hielm-Björkman, Docent in clinical research on companion animals, and her research team, is exploring how dogs can detect COVID-19 in human beings. According to preliminary studies, dogs can detect COVID-19 quickly and provide even more reliable results than laboratory tests.

Based on the preliminary results, four COVID-19 sniffer dogs will be working at Helsinki Airport until the end of this year. They will be used to test passengers who are arriving in Finland for COVID-19 using skin swab samples. In addition, there are ongoing studies that aim to learn more about what it is exactly that dogs detect in samples.

According to international peer reviewed studies, dogs are able to recognise COVID-19 positive individuals with a success rate ranging to 94 to 100 per cent. Dogs can detect coronavirus from a significantly lower amount of virus than the commonly used PCR tests. It has also been found that a dog has identified coronavirus infection in asymptomatic people days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms. Laboratory tests cannot do this.

The Finnish Kennel Club encourages others to donate to covid dog research

For covid dogs to receive official status, a great deal of research is still required – including collecting thousands of samples and cross-checking samples over and over again.

– Once we gain enough research evidence on the superior olfactory sensitivity of canines, we can utilise sniffer dogs in detecting other diseases as well. In early September, we met with Anna Hielm-Björkman and Susanna Paavilainen, covid dog trainer and Executive Director at Wise Nose – Smell Detection Association, to discuss how the Finnish Kennel Club can best support covid dog operations. We decided to support the research. This means we can also promote the process of providing official status for covid dogs, says Harri Lehkonen, the Chair of the Finnish Kennel Club's Board.

More information on how to donate to covid dog operations is available on the Kennel Club’s website. On the pages, you will find additional information on covid dog operations and a link to the website of the University of Helsinki with details on how to donate (Finnish Kennel Club fundraising for covid dogs).

For further information, please contact:

Chair of the Finnish Kennel Club’s Board
Harri Lehkonen
Tel. +358 (0)50 329 2188

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki
Docent in clinical research on companion animals
Anna Hielm-Björkman
Tel. +358 (0)44 327 0462 (Please leave a message asking for a call back)