Medical Detection Dogs 15th birthday at Clarence House

Charity News Company News From the Master

On 20th February 2024, Master David Adams was honoured to attend a reception, by Her Majesty The Queen, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the charity Medical Detection Dogs, which The Plumbers Charity supports, and was an opportunity for Plum to show off her skills!

© Ian Jones Photography

Plum has been sponsored by The Plumbers Charity since she was a puppy 6 years ago, and attended the reception with her handler Claire, and in front of the guests, demonstrated her olfactory skills by selecting the correct sample from four, on every occasion:

© Ian Jones Photography

Dogs can smell a change in odour when the sample size is in parts per trillion. Plum’s specialist area is in detecting bacterial infections, including UTIs.

Dr Claire Guest OBE, CEO of Medical Detection Dogs, made an excellent speech about the charity’s journey over the last 15 years, and thanked Queen Camilla for her invaluable support as the charity’s patron. When introducing Plum, Dr. Guest said that fittingly she is sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, which led to appreciative laughter around the room.

The Queen spoke about her admiration for the work undertaken by Medical Detection Dogs, and praised the progress the charity has made in training dogs to detect subtle changes in medical conditions, despite sometimes facing scepticism in the early years from parts of the medical profession.

© Ian Jones Photography

Approx. 100 people attended and enjoyed soft drinks and canapés in the adjoining reception rooms. Queen Camilla met every single guest and quickly put people at ease.

Past Master Brian Wadsworth and Past Consort Anne Wadsworth, also attended, seen here with the Master meeting Queen Camilla:

© Ian Jones Photography

It was in Brian Wadsworth’s year as Master, in 2016 to 2017, that Queen Camilla became an Honorary Liveryman of the Plumbers.

Past Consort Diana Paterson-Fox, who has been involved with Medical Detection Dogs for some time, was also at the reception:

© Ian Jones Photography

Said Ruth Lister MCIoF, Head of Fundraising at Medical Detection Dogs (MDD):

Plum is our very handsome black labrador-retriever cross bitch, and Claire is her handler you can see with her, whilst the press and audience look on in awe!

Plum is part of a team of 4 dogs who have been working on the Community Medical Detection Dogs project, to assist in the detection of UTI in the community. The dogs were trained to detect the presence of E. Coli bacteria from synthetic samples in a laboratory setting, which all dogs were able to do to a pleasing degree of accuracy.

Over time, the ratio of E. Coli bacteria within the sample was reduced until it matched what would be expected in a real clinical sample. The lower the concentration of E.coli, the harder it is for the dogs to detect. Along with her teammates, Plum continued to achieve good results and taught MDD what it needed to know to begin the next phase of the study – to detect the presence of UTI directly on people in the community.

Plum has aided MDD’s Research and Development and Continuation Training, using her amazing nose in the organisation’s specially built Bio-Detection facility. She also recently took part in a fun research study at the MDD Centre, where the team were looking at how their dogs interact with toys. This was something very different for MDD, but Plum took the job very seriously and thoroughly enjoyed herself.”

The Webmaster thanks Ruth for her permission to publish the photographs of this happy event.

“This was a special event to recognise a special cause, and the Plumbers’ Company is very pleased to be making a contribution.”

Master David Adams