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Auburn Veterinary Faculty Continue to Focus Research Efforts on Canine Detection

By Janet McCoy, College of Veterinary Medicine, (334) 844-3698 (

Auburn, Alabama —

A new license agreement between Auburn University, through the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation (ARTF), and iK9 Holdings Co. LLC, to commercialize the VAPOR WAKE® technology, will allow researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine to more closely focus on developing other ground-breaking animal performance research and technology.

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Animal Health and Performance Program (AHPP), which developed the internationally-known patent-pending and trademarked VAPOR WAKE technology, has rich traditions in research and in understanding animal performance.  

“The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine has invested years of research in developing this program into a strong and versatile detection tool in the fight against terrorism,” said Calvin Johnson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “VAPOR WAKE dogs are capable of saving lives. Auburn believes the best way to get dogs into both domestic and military markets is with a private sector company with dog training experience and marketing capabilities. iK9 has these capabilities and is on track to becoming an industry leader within the detector dog community.”

The college’s AHPP faculty will continue groundbreaking research efforts in olfaction and detection, as well as in veterinary sports medicine and canine breeding. AHPP is a leader in understanding the physical, physiological, and psychological needs of athletic and working animals and the benefits that exercise can have on their general health.

“We focus on scientifically improving canine detection methods through enhanced training technologies, systematically improving genetics, and close collaboration between trainers and scientists,” says Jim Floyd, interim director of AHPP.

AHPP’s team of scientists and trainers – led by Drs. Craig Angle and Paul Waggoner – are conducting a number of research projects to expand the scope of their investigations.

 “We continually try to push the envelope with dogs to utilize their unique capabilities in a useful, efficient and economical way,” Dr. Waggoner said. “We are constantly trying to research novel applications of our canine partners so that they can provide capabilities and services that don’t yet exist.  These services can provide a large benefit to multiple industries.”

Dr. Angle agreed. “We have already shown that our dogs can find static and dynamic targets, large scale and microscopic targets, and that their efficiency in doing so is far greater than teams of humans and our most sophisticated machines. 

“Dogs can smell in parts per trillion and range for miles on end – there is not a technology on earth that can even come close to that capability,” Dr. Angle added. “That capability can find deadly bacteria and viruses in hospitals, invasive fungi in the wine industry and minute pollutants in the environment. The best thing about the dogs is they give us instant verification of a substance without the need for lengthy laboratory testing.  Our next hurdle is capturing corporate, private and government interest in funding research to further develop specific applications of our canine partners.”

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About Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine

The country's seventh oldest veterinary college and the oldest in the South, Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the nation's preeminent institutions for research, teaching, diagnostics, and comprehensive medical care for animals. The mission of the college is to prepare individuals for careers of excellence in veterinary medicine, including private and public practice, industrial medicine, academics and research. The college has 125 faculty members and a current enrollment of 487 DVM and graduate students. Online:

Auburn University | College of Veterinary Medicine | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-4546
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