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Toward an Ideal Typology of the Search and Rescue Dog

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The purpose of this thesis is to develop an aptitude test to administer to shelter dogs in order to determine which dogs could be adopted and trained for Search and Rescue (SAR) work. SAR is an essential field made u

The purpose of this thesis is to develop an aptitude test to administer to shelter dogs in order to determine which dogs could be adopted and trained for Search and Rescue (SAR) work. SAR is an essential field made up primarily of volunteers that search for people who have gotten lost. Many SAR teams work with the police force to locate missing persons. There are various types of SAR work, such as urban SAR, ground SAR, mountain rescue, and cadaver SAR, among others. The tasks of hiking, climbing, crawling, and various other methods of maneuvering are required from the SAR dogs and their handlers, so physical fitness is necessary in all SAR dogs. A stable, confident demeanor is also crucial for the overall effectiveness of the canine. The availability of a standardized aptitude test could prove beneficial for SAR dog handlers seeking dogs to train for work in the SAR field. This also presents the opportunity for increased adoption of shelter dogs, provided SAR dog handlers decide to work with homeless adult dogs. The aptitude test encompasses the critical qualities necessary for SAR dogs to possess. Physical suitability, temperament, aptitude, object focus, and emotional suitability have been implemented and defined in the test, based on the desired traits described by various SAR organizations and evaluations for puppies and working dogs. Though there are multiple variations of aptitude and temperament tests, these evaluations do not incorporate the administration to shelter dogs in order to determine their potential for working in a special field particularly the field of Search and Rescue. The qualities for SAR dogs described in this thesis were utilized to create ideal typologies of SAR dogs. This provides a theoretical idea of realistic dogs suitable for SAR work. These ideal typologies were scored against the aptitude test based on their characteristics described in order to determine consistent implementation of the test by multiple users. The aptitude test was also implemented on two real dogs to discern the effectiveness of the test. Although neither dog displayed the proper characteristics to become SAR dogs, the results from the trials demonstrated an overall efficacy of the test.

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2017-05

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Xerostomia and the Microbiome of the Mouth

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Is it possible to treat the mouth as a natural environment, and determine new methods to keep the microbiome in check? The need for biodiversity in health may suggest that every species carries out a specific function that is required

Is it possible to treat the mouth as a natural environment, and determine new methods to keep the microbiome in check? The need for biodiversity in health may suggest that every species carries out a specific function that is required to maintain equilibrium and homeostasis within the oral cavity. Furthermore, the relationship between the microbiome and its host is mutually beneficial because the host is providing microbes with an environment in which they can flourish and, in turn, keep their host healthy. Reviewing examples of larger scale environmental shifts could provide a window by which scientists can make hypotheses. Certain medications and healthcare treatments have been proven to cause xerostomia. This disorder is characterized by a dry mouth, and known to be associated with a change in the composition, and reduction, of saliva. Two case studies performed by Bardow et al, and Leal et al, tested and studied the relationships of certain medications and confirmed their side effects on the salivary glands [2,3]. Their results confirmed a relationship between specific medicines, and the correlating complaints of xerostomia. In addition, Vissink et al conducted case studies that helped to further identify how radiotherapy causes hyposalivation of the salivary glands [4]. Specifically patients that have been diagnosed with oral cancer, and are treated by radiotherapy, have been diagnosed with xerostomia. As stated prior, studies have shown that patients having an ecologically balanced and diverse microbiome tend to have healthier mouths. The oral cavity is like any biome, consisting of commensalism within itself and mutualism with its host. Due to the decreased salivary output, caused by xerostomia, increased parasitic bacteria build up within the oral cavity thus causing dental disease. Every human body contains a personalized microbiome that is essential to maintaining health but capable of eliciting disease. The Human Oral Microbiomics Database (HOMD) is a set of reference 16S rRNA gene sequences. These are then used to define individual human oral taxa. By conducting metagenomic experiments at the molecular and cellular level, scientists can identify and label micro species that inhabit the mouth during parasitic outbreaks or a shifting of the microbiome. Because the HOMD is incomplete, so is our ability to cure, or prevent, oral disease. The purpose of the thesis is to research what is known about xerostomia and its effects on the complex microbiome of the oral cavity. It is important that researchers determine whether this particular perspective is worth considering. In addition, the goal is to create novel experiments for treatment and prevention of dental diseases.

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2015-05