Man's Best Savior


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Man's Best Savior

Every once in a while, we seem to discover something new and amazing about dogs.  One of the more recent discoveries is how they can use their excellent sense of smell to sense if a person is in an early stage of cancer.  This article discusses a test in Austria to determine how accurately dogs can detect breath samples from people that have lung cancer.  According to the article, "The test tasked dogs with sniffing out lung cancer from 120 breath samples. The researchers found that dogs were 70 percent successful at identifying which samples belonged to patients with lung cancer and which did not." (1) This was an experimental test that supported the claims of patients that said that their dogs started behaving differently around them.  The reason is that the smell of the breath of a cancer patient is different from that of a healthy person from a dog's point of view.  This might seem like a random ability, but if the dogs can detect the cancer early enough, the owners will get treatment earlier and be less likely to die from cancer.

            So I found that article, and found it interesting, so I decided to look around for some other live-saving abilities that our furry friends possess, because I know I've seen more than just cancer detection.  While looking for articles about the cancer detection, the third page of this article lists a few more things that dogs can help with.  I knew about Seeing-Eye and similar service dogs already, but then the article mentions how they are a part of treatment for Post-Traumatic stress disorder, help process information for autistic people, and "let their type 1 diabetic human companions know that their blood sugar levels are off before the person feels any symptoms or takes a blood test." (2) Diabetes. Seizure-warning dogs are believable because the human body starts showing physical signs that a seizure is about to occur, but diabetes happens in the flipping blood stream, yet a dog can still detect it! The Animal planet article says "Low blood sugar changes the volatile organic compounds emitted through the pores of a diabetic; the dogs let their owners know of this change by whining or licking their hands." (2) Granted, some training might need to be done in order to get a dog to do any of these things, but the fact that a dog can do it at all is incredible.

            Do you know of any similar things that dogs can do? What about cats or other animals? Do you have a pet that has one of these abilities?

           

Sources:

1) http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/13413/20121206/dogs-sniff-out-lung-cancer.htm#bMeoszi8tICPYCoy.99

2) http://animal.discovery.com/guides/dogs/dog-training/behavior/can-dogs-detect-human-health-problems.html


1 Comment

Dogs are amazing animals. They have a great sense of smell as you have explained. After reading your article i'm not sure whether I think this is completely real. If dogs had this ability you would think that some part of a dog could be of help to finding the cure for cancer, yet we havent even explored...or have we?

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