New vans help charity transport dogs for training sessions

Bio-detection dog Axel and trainer Mark Doggett, with Medical Detection Dogs new Mercedes-Benz Citans
Bio-detection dog Axel and trainer Mark Doggett, with Medical Detection Dogs new Mercedes-Benz Citans

A charity based in Great Horwood has purchased new vans from an Aylesbury dealer to help with its life-saving work.

Medical Detection Dogs purchased two new Mercedes-Benz Citan vans from Dealer Hughes of Aylesbury.

The charity uses the Citans to collect the dogs from their homes and transport them in crates for training or to undertake their work with clients throughout the country.

Both previously used for demonstration purposes by Hughes of Aylesbury, the Citans replaced a pair of vans by a French manufacturer.

The charity is at the forefront of research into the fight against cancer and helps people with life-threatening conditions.

Its Bio-Detection Dogs are trained to identify the distinctive scents of diseases, in samples such as urine, breath and swabs.

Meanwhile, the charity’s Medical Alert Assistance Dogs detect small changes in an individual’s personal odour, triggered by their condition.

Charity Chief Executive Officer Dr Claire Guest explained: “Dogs can identify tiny odour concentrations of around one part per trillion, the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“This gives them the ability to detect diseases.

“We train them to use that skill as assistance dogs for people with life-threatening conditions such as type one diabetes, and are researching their abilities to detect forms of cancer much earlier than is currently possible using conventional methods.

“Our pioneering work can help, therefore, to speed up the diagnosis process and impact on thousands of lives.”

Medical Detection Dogs trains several canine breeds, although labradors and spaniels have proved particularly adept at alerting humans to the presence of life-threatening illnesses.

Rather than keeping them in kennels, its dogs are fostered out with families.

Dr Guest said: “We’ve previously leased our vehicles but did some calculations based on the fact that they’re covering the best part of 30,000 miles a year and concluded that it would now be more cost-effective to own them outright.

“There’s not a lot to choose between the two acquisition methods over the first three years, but we foresee a particular benefit once we get into years four and five, when our analysis suggests outright ownership becomes a better bet.”

“So we set out to buy the most reliable van on the market and, of course, Mercedes-Benz has an unrivalled reputation for the quality and longevity of its products. “We’re confident that the Citans are very well made and robust enough to do a great job for us.”

She added: “Our new Mercedes-Benz vans look great and are attracting a lot of positive feedback from people who see them on the road, while the team members who’ve been using them are delighted.

“The Citan is easy to drive and very comfortable, as well as being highly economical to run.”

Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, Medical Detection Dogs’ Citans came with three-year, unlimited mileage warranties and additional Mercedes-Benz MobiloVan support, which includes free, round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance for up to 30 years provided they continue to be maintained within the manufacturer’s official Dealer Network.

Hughes of Aylesbury’s van sales manager Emma Cale said: “Medical Detection Dogs is engaged in ground-breaking work that has the potential to save people’s lives. “We were delighted, therefore, to have the opportunity to support the charity by supplying its two new Citan vans.”