Dogs

How dogs have been used in NZ

Dogs have been used in research, testing and teaching in a variety of ways - from non-harmful to cruel and invasive methods. The majority of dogs used for research, testing and teaching purposes are used for teaching and veterinary research. They are also used in environmental management, medical research, testing and more.

Dogs in NZ have been used to:

  • Test insecticides, pesticides and other toxins.
  • Try and model human disease and other human conditions. 
  • Measure the safety of food and ingredients. 
  • Test what pain relief is most effective. 
  • Research disease detection.
  • Research nutrition, how it affects biological functions and food preference.
  • Test the effectiveness of new, possible treatments for skin infections.
  • Research performance, nutrition and underlying causes of disease in working dogs. These animals are seen as a vital part of the animal agriculture sector (in 2009 there were 150,000 working dogs in NZ).
  • Research fitness and training regimes in police dogs. Police dogs have also been used to train dog handlers. 
  • Teach vet and vet nurse students basic concepts like animal handling and basic clinical/husbandry skills. Dog cadavers are also used to teach vet students and some dogs already scheduled to be euthanised by council pounds, are euthanised by vet and vet nurse students as part of their training.

Dogs are also considered to be used for research, testing or teaching when blood samples are taken during routine vet check are used for research purposes.  

Due to the high level of secrecy that this industry has, this is not a comprehensive list. For more details and referenced examples of how dogs are used, see the case studies section at the bottom of this page.

Research on dogs in the news

Pound dogs used in 1080 experiment

Ten unwanted dogs sourced from a Christchurch pound were subjected to six consecutive days of experimental poisoning before being killed. Read more here

Puppies brains injected in cruel test

A research experiment approved by an NZ University involved Huntaway puppies having repeated injections made into their brains. Read more here

Overview 

The figures in the table below have been provided by MPI. 

 

Where dogs have been used

Dogs are used for research, testing and teaching purposes by private companies, universities, and polytechnics. Find out more.

Where dogs have been sourced from

Dogs used in science are sourced from breeding facilities, farms, city council pounds and other public sources. According to the Ministry for Primary Industries, public sources include public donations, animals obtained from a pound, a pet shop or other public sources. This includes companion animals who are used for the duration of the exercise (e.g. veterinary nurse training). Find out more.

Take action!

  • Demand that action be taken to prevent cruel experiments from happening in the future by signing our petition! Together we can push for stronger laws, better transparency and upgrading our science by Striking at the Source!
  • This is an ongoing, longterm campaign so if you feel strongly about demanding transparency and openness, please consider making a monthly donation
  • Learn about the many other ways that you can help end animal experimentation.

Further reading


Case Studies

Here you can view real-life examples of how dogs have been used for research, testing and teaching purposes in NZ. More publications will be added as we find them!

Keywords: Pain, thermal sensitivity, nociceptive threshold.

Aim: To examine if there is a difference in pain sensitivity between different dog breeds.

Overview: A metal disc is attached to the leg of dogs. This disc heats up until the dog shows a pain response. Testing started at 20°C and the maximum temperature was 60°C. 

Date published: 2016

Read more..

Aim: To examine if there is a difference in pain sensitivity between different dog breeds.

Overview: A metal disc is attached to the leg of dogs. This disc heats up until the dog shows a pain response. Testing started at 20°C and the maximum temperature was 60°C. 

Date published: 2016

Keywords: Toxicity, secondary poisoning, sodium nitrate. 

Aim: To try and verify the effectiveness of a microencapsulated formulation of Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) for poisoning wild dogs as a method of unwanted species control. 

Overview: Twenty-one dogs were acquired from Woodville Council dog pound. All but two of them were fed PAPP (a toxin) in different concentrations and with different bait (chicken, dog roll, PAPP pellets or paste). Two dogs were fed several non-toxic tasty bait capsules, before being fed a capsule containing cyanide. All dogs were then observed for signs of toxicosis. Ten of the animals receiving PAPP died within 3.5 hours, one more after 4 hours. The two dogs receiving cyanide died within 14min and 30min, respectively. The rest of the animals showed symptoms, but survived the toxin; their ultimate fate was not stated. All but five animals vomited.

Date published: 2006

Read more..

Aim: To try and verify the effectiveness of a microencapsulated formulation of Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) for poisoning wild dogs as a method of unwanted species control. 

Overview: Twenty-one dogs were acquired from Woodville Council dog pound. All but two of them were fed PAPP (a toxin) in different concentrations and with different bait (chicken, dog roll, PAPP pellets or paste). Two dogs were fed several non-toxic tasty bait capsules, before being fed a capsule containing cyanide. All dogs were then observed for signs of toxicosis. Ten of the animals receiving PAPP died within 3.5 hours, one more after 4 hours. The two dogs receiving cyanide died within 14min and 30min, respectively. The rest of the animals showed symptoms, but survived the toxin; their ultimate fate was not stated. All but five animals vomited.

Date published: 2006

Keywords: Toxicity, secondary poisoning, sodium nitrate. 

Aim: To examine the secondary poisoning risk on dogs and other animals who might eat the carcasses of animals who have been poisoned by sodium nitrate.

Overview: Dogs were fed poisoned possum for several days on end. The dogs were observed for signs of poisoning (vomiting, excessive thirst, diarrhoea, heavy panting, fainting, and bluish colouring of lips, gums, paws and nose) by a researcher, but luckily none of the dogs showed any obvious signs. All dogs were killed after the experiment.

Date published: 2018

Read more..

Aim: To examine the secondary poisoning risk on dogs and other animals who might eat the carcasses of animals who have been poisoned by sodium nitrate.

Overview: Dogs were fed poisoned possum for several days on end. The dogs were observed for signs of poisoning (vomiting, excessive thirst, diarrhoea, heavy panting, fainting, and bluish colouring of lips, gums, paws and nose) by a researcher, but luckily none of the dogs showed any obvious signs. All dogs were killed after the experiment.

Date published: 2018

Keywords: Gene therapy, laparotomy, neurological disease, blood samples, autopsy, animal model.

Aim: To try and verify the results of a new gene therapy tested in mice for Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS). Positive results of tests in larger animals were assumed to justify trials with humans. 

Overview: Blood samples were taken from 15 puppies at 1 day of age for genotyping. They were then divided into five groups with 3 puppies each. One group received the vector containing gene therapy material as an injection into the jugular vein (neck) at 3 days of age. Surgery was performed on two other groups at 8 weeks of age. Their abdomens were cut into to reach the vein leading to the liver, where the vector was then injected. The two other groups (one group diagnosed with the genetic disease and one control group) were left untreated. All puppies underwent regular blood sampling (age 3 days, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 weeks). At the age of 24 weeks, all puppies were anaesthetised, spinal fluid was sampled before all were euthanised for autopsy.

Date of Animal Ethics Committee Approval: 2015

Read more..

Aim: To try and verify the results of a new gene therapy tested in mice for Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS). Positive results of tests in larger animals were assumed to justify trials with humans. 

Overview: Blood samples were taken from 15 puppies at 1 day of age for genotyping. They were then divided into five groups with 3 puppies each. One group received the vector containing gene therapy material as an injection into the jugular vein (neck) at 3 days of age. Surgery was performed on two other groups at 8 weeks of age. Their abdomens were cut into to reach the vein leading to the liver, where the vector was then injected. The two other groups (one group diagnosed with the genetic disease and one control group) were left untreated. All puppies underwent regular blood sampling (age 3 days, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 weeks). At the age of 24 weeks, all puppies were anaesthetised, spinal fluid was sampled before all were euthanised for autopsy.

Date of Animal Ethics Committee Approval: 2015

Keywords: Conservation Dogs Programme, homing pigeons, Flush Test. 

Aim: To determine if a group of trained dogs are suitable to help with locating a variety of introduced species and protected species on conservation estate. 

Overview: The study involved 8 dogs and 16 homing pigeons. In test 1, the dog was walked off the lead and on heel next to the handler. When the dog was settled beside the handler, the homing pigeon was thrown toward the ground between 2-3 meters in front of the dog. In test 2, a pigeon placed in a pigeon launcher that was able to be released remotely. The dog will be heeled upwind and vertical to the talk. The bird will be released immediately when the dog was near. The injured bird will be taken to a vet if within 40 km or killed.

Date of Animal Ethics Committee Approval: 2018

Read more..

Aim: To determine if a group of trained dogs are suitable to help with locating a variety of introduced species and protected species on conservation estate. 

Overview: The study involved 8 dogs and 16 homing pigeons. In test 1, the dog was walked off the lead and on heel next to the handler. When the dog was settled beside the handler, the homing pigeon was thrown toward the ground between 2-3 meters in front of the dog. In test 2, a pigeon placed in a pigeon launcher that was able to be released remotely. The dog will be heeled upwind and vertical to the talk. The bird will be released immediately when the dog was near. The injured bird will be taken to a vet if within 40 km or killed.

Date of Animal Ethics Committee Approval: 2018

Keywords: Storage disorder, animal model. 

Aim: To examine if the dose and frequency of treatment effects neurodegenerative changes in a dog model of storage disorder.

Overview: Nine dogs received enzyme injections on a weekly basis beginning at birth and concluding at 11 weeks of age. Then dogs had recombinant human sulphamidase infused/injected into their brains (cistern). All dogs were euthanised after a final injection of recombinant human sulphamidase (their maximum age when they were euthanised was 24 weeks old). Their brains were then dissected.

Date published: 2017

Read more..

Aim: To examine if the dose and frequency of treatment effects neurodegenerative changes in a dog model of storage disorder.

Overview: Nine dogs received enzyme injections on a weekly basis beginning at birth and concluding at 11 weeks of age. Then dogs had recombinant human sulphamidase infused/injected into their brains (cistern). All dogs were euthanised after a final injection of recombinant human sulphamidase (their maximum age when they were euthanised was 24 weeks old). Their brains were then dissected.

Date published: 2017

Keywords: Arthritis, product safety, maximum dose.

Aim: To examine the effect of anthocyanins derived from black currants on degenerative arthritis in canines and to establish the safety of the product in dogs including the effects of the maximum dose being that ingested by a dog if they were to eat the whole packet.

Overview: Dogs were administered anthocyanin as a pill daily for 51 days, then they were physically examined and weighed, blood and urine samples were collected and their activity was monitored. The amount of anthocyanin administered increased over time until the max dose of 2664mg was given (60 tablets). 

Date of Animal Ethics Committee Approval: 2017

Read more..

Aim: To examine the effect of anthocyanins derived from black currants on degenerative arthritis in canines and to establish the safety of the product in dogs including the effects of the maximum dose being that ingested by a dog if they were to eat the whole packet.

Overview: Dogs were administered anthocyanin as a pill daily for 51 days, then they were physically examined and weighed, blood and urine samples were collected and their activity was monitored. The amount of anthocyanin administered increased over time until the max dose of 2664mg was given (60 tablets). 

Date of Animal Ethics Committee Approval: 2017

Keywords: Parasiticide, toxicity, working dogs. 

Aim: To measure the toxicity of a parasiticide (abamectin) in dogs and how long it takes for this to be eliminated from the body to help build a future treatment plan. Working dogs sometimes accidentally ingest parasiticides like this. 

Overview: Abamectin was given to dogs orally, blood samples were then taken for nine days.

Date of Animal Ethics Committee Approval: 2016

Read more..

Aim: To measure the toxicity of a parasiticide (abamectin) in dogs and how long it takes for this to be eliminated from the body to help build a future treatment plan. Working dogs sometimes accidentally ingest parasiticides like this. 

Overview: Abamectin was given to dogs orally, blood samples were then taken for nine days.

Date of Animal Ethics Committee Approval: 2016

Keywords: Animal model, mucopolysaccharidosis. 

Aim: To try and investigate a suitable dog model for Mucopolysaccharidosis IIIA. 

Overview: Dogs models for mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) IIIA were bred within an experimental colony. As part of characterizing them as a model for testing therapeutic strategies for the analogous disease of children, a pathologic study was undertaken.

Date published: 2007

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Aim: To try and investigate a suitable dog model for Mucopolysaccharidosis IIIA. 

Overview: Dogs models for mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) IIIA were bred within an experimental colony. As part of characterizing them as a model for testing therapeutic strategies for the analogous disease of children, a pathologic study was undertaken.

Date published: 2007

Keywords: Animal model, mucopolysaccharidosis.

Aim: To examine if pre-symptomatic treatment via intra-cerebrospinal fluid injection of rhSGSH mediates highly significant reductions in neuropathology in an MPS IIIA model (animal model).

Overview: Dogs were bred, housed and maintained at a commercial research facility. Dogs received intravenous recombinant human SGSH (rhSGSH) from birth to either 8 or 12 weeks of age, with subsequent intra-cerebrospinal fluid injection on a weekly or fortnightly basis to 23 weeks of age. Euthanasia and sample collection, including detailed brain dissection, was performed 24 hours after the final infusion. 

Date published: 2011

Read more..

Aim: To examine if pre-symptomatic treatment via intra-cerebrospinal fluid injection of rhSGSH mediates highly significant reductions in neuropathology in an MPS IIIA model (animal model).

Overview: Dogs were bred, housed and maintained at a commercial research facility. Dogs received intravenous recombinant human SGSH (rhSGSH) from birth to either 8 or 12 weeks of age, with subsequent intra-cerebrospinal fluid injection on a weekly or fortnightly basis to 23 weeks of age. Euthanasia and sample collection, including detailed brain dissection, was performed 24 hours after the final infusion. 

Date published: 2011

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