Cancer sniffing dogs

I write frequently about special dogs and assistance dogs. But this post isn’t about research – it’s about real-life stories where common pet dogs have detected cancer in their owner.

For example, I have a client in my massage practice who said that her dog was acting differently towards her.  We initially attributed this to stress in the home – since they had recently moved house with all of the associated angst. And then came a diagnosis of bladder cancer and she’s now in the middle of aggressive treatment for it.. On reflection, I believe her dog, who is a sensitive boy, picked up on the scent of her cancer but he didn’t know how to tell her.

And then this week, I read about Banjo who lives in North Carolina with his owner, Tim Buckner.  Banjo acted strangely to a wart on his Tim’s arm…and when Tim went to get it checked by a dermatologist, he was diagnosed with melanoma.

We know that dogs have extremely sensitive noses.  And I include here the PBS NewsHour item about dogs and how they can detect cancer.  This piece opens with yet another dog owner telling the tale of how her dog detected her cancer.

Dogs continue to show us unique ways they can help us and our quality of life.  You may have saved your pet, but your pet could also save you.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

3 responses to “Cancer sniffing dogs

  1. lilyandardbeg

    Thank you, that’s a great post 🙂 We had a trial approved by NHS in 2015 here in Britain, the results are really good, hopefully dogs will be widely used in cancer detection soon.

    • Having worked in research management myself, I find it interesting that nanotechnologists want to replicate the accuracy of the canine nose. So far in trials, dogs have always beaten technology. Our Ministry of Primary Industries uses detector dogs at the border for this reason. Thanks for reading my blog!

  2. I am always amazed at how sensitive dogs are. My friend has diabetes, her dog would bark at her when she went into a low, reminding her to eat something. We have amazing pets.

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