Dogs have been known to be trainable to detect whenever their owner is about to suffer a seizure and alert by-passers. Now, dogs are being trained to detect the smell of prostate cancer. In the UK, there are only 55 known as medical assistant dogs. These dogs are trained to smell the breath of their owner and sense when something is not right.
For example, a child could be playing in the field and the smell of his breath changes and an episode of lack of glucose is about to happen, the dog alerts someone by circling the child and/or barking.
A dog’s sense of smell
Our furry four-legged friends have an interesting set of skills due to their powerful sense of smell. In a study done with six dogs, samples of urine were given to the dogs to detect. Dogs were trained to distinguish urine from a healthy man from urine from a prostate cancer patient. The dogs were presented with new samples – five from healthy patients and one from a prostate gland patient. Scientist found that dogs would pick up the smell of the urine from prostate-glands 41 percent of the time.
Another study performed in the United States trained 5 dogs using samples of regular urine and urine from patients with breast and lung cancer. The experiment was double-blinded, meaning that neither the dog nor the owner knew what samples were which.
In the practical field
It definitively highly likely for a dog to identify that one urine is different smelling than the others. These small experiments demonstrated that dogs can pick up several changes in odors. However, the results are too questionable and there is no way that a patient’s life should depend on their dog detecting a type of cancer.