Sniffer Dogs, Can Dogs Smell Cancer?

Sniffer dog smelling a urine sample

Sniffer Dogs Can Smell Cancer?

By the magnificent sense of smell that sniffer dogs have these are used to detect drug trafficking, tracking criminals and missing persons. It is evident the ability to perceive our pets can sense events that occur like illness or death of their masters. Recently,have been developed some projects for the prevention of diseases, using pets and animals sixth sense like the method the detection.

In Spain an investigation called “Dogs of Vital Detection” in Murcia with the support of the Department of Urology at the University Hospital Santa Lucia of Cartagena and The Area II Health Murciano driving the medical service aims to detect early prostate cancer through the smell of dogs.

Which aims to demonstrate such research is the effectiveness of using the felt better developed and privileged of these training them so that they can determine in the urine of men Composes Volatile Organic which can cause prostate cancer and to reduce the number of deaths through early diagnosis of the disease. If the result of this research is positive the sniffer dogs can be used for early diagnosis of other diseases in people.

This investigation began in February 2015 and ends in December 2016. To date, this study has already yielded favorable results using sniffer dogs as a means of detection a sample of 200 people sick and healthy was obtained 87% success.

Team of trained sniffer dogs involved in research
Team of trained sniffer dogs involved in research. Dr.Claire Guest pictured with Daisy, a medical detection dog who received a medal recently due to her detecting cancer in Dr. Guest. Picture shows Daisy wearing with the other medical detection dogs at the Medical Detection Centre Great Horwood, Bucks – Photo Credit: Mark Large

Why can dogs smell cancer, what special conditions must have them?

Researchers and sniffer dog
The sniffer dog Daisy demonstrating their olfactory abilities

The study began in 2015 does not condition to the sniffer dogs by breed just should be healthy dogs, be well fed, and especially intelligent dogs that are dynamic to assimilate and develop their skills in training to which they are subjected.

This study is the first that is made in this respect and it arises from the need to create mechanisms for prevention and detection of this disease because it is the type most commonly diagnosed cancer in Spain.

The project phases

The project consists of five phases of approximately one month each and based on training basic and subsequently submits them to the following steps to detect disease in urine samples from healthy people and sick, similarly in the third phase children samples were used, this allowed them to observe the degree of discrimination they were able to develop and the final phase is expected to determine whether the method is effective and valid for detection of disease.

Reaches of the investigation

Daisy is the leader of the group of dogs
Daisy is the leader of the group of dogs

Carry out this project and their effectiveness will allow patients to have a more reliable diagnostic method and less invasive in contrast from the biopsies as examination for the detection of the disease.

Unquestionably this is an innovative method for the detection of diseases through smell of dogs being more developed to that of humans could address and this provides improvements to health systems of the main countries of the European Community initially in the United Kingdom where pilot tests were made and Spain with the development of this project and could spread to the rest of the world.

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