Characterization of the nasal and oral microbiota of detection dogs. Academic Article uri icon


  • Little is known about physiological factors that affect the sense of olfaction in dogs. The objectives of this study were to describe the canine nasal and oral microbiota in detection dogs. We sought to determine the bacterial composition of the nasal and oral microbiota of a diverse population of detection canines. Nasal and oral swabs were collected from healthy dogs (n = 81) from four locations-Alabama, Georgia, California, and Texas. Nasal and oral swabs were also collected from a second cohort of detection canines belonging to three different detection job categories: explosive detection dogs (SP-E; n = 22), patrol and narcotics detection dogs (P-NDD; n = 15), and vapor wake dogs (VWD-E; n = 9). To understand if the nasal and oral microbiota of detection canines were variable, sample collection was repeated after 7 weeks in a subset of dogs. DNA was extracted from the swabs and used for 454-pyrosequencing of the16S rRNA genes. Nasal samples had a significantly lower diversity than oral samples (P<0.01). Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria were higher in nasal samples, while Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, and Tenericutes were higher in oral samples. Bacterial diversity was not significantly different based on the detection job. No significant difference in beta diversity was observed in the nasal samples based on the detection job. In oral samples, however, ANOSIM suggested a significant difference in bacterial communities based on job category albeit with a small effect size (R = 0.1079, P = 0.02). Analysis of the composition of bacterial communities using LEfSe showed that within the nasal samples, Cardiobacterium and Riemerella were higher in VWD-E dogs, and Sphingobacterium was higher in the P-NDD group. In the oral samples Enterococcus and Capnocytophaga were higher in the P-NDD group. Gemella and Aggregatibacter were higher in S-PE, and Pigmentiphaga, Chryseobacterium, Parabacteroides amongst others were higher within the VWD-E group. Our initial data also shows that there is a temporal variation in alpha diversity in nasal samples in detection canines.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 12.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Isaiah, A., Hoffmann, A. R., Kelley, R., Mundell, P., Steiner, J. M., & Suchodolski, J. S.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Isaiah, Anitha||Hoffmann, Aline Rodrigues||Kelley, Russ||Mundell, Paul||Steiner, Jörg M||Suchodolski, Jan S

editor list (cited editors)

  • He, Z.

publication date

  • September 2017