Dogs Can Sniff Out Cancer In Humans

Wellness, last updated 23rd, Sep 2014, Neha Manchanda

At Penn Vet Working Dog Center McBaine a black and white Springer Spaniel begins his task for the day. His sharp nose skims 12 arms that protrude from the edges of a wheel which hold samples of blood plasma, where one is spiked with a drop of cancerous tissue. McBaine takes one round and stalls in front of sample 11 with an air of confidence. Pleased, his trainer tosses him a reward - a tennis ball after which McBaine bolts happily.

McBaine is one of the four highly trained Cancer Detection dog at Penn Vet Working Dog Center which trains pure bred dogs to use their strong sense of a smell to work and detect early signs of ovarian cancer. The Vets at Penn Vet are working closely with chemists and physicists to isolate cancer chemicals that dogs can detect. The team hopes that the research will lead to development of nanotechnology sensors that can help doctors in detecting cancer.


Since 2004, research has shown that dogs may be able to smell the subtle chemical difference between healthy and cancerous tissues in humans including bladder cancer, prostate cancer, lung and breast cancer. In the US and Europe dogs are already trained to respond to diabetic or epileptic emergencies and alert medical authorities or passers by if their owner is about to have a medical emergency.

Our furry friends are making yet another important contribution to our well being by using their olfactory senses to help detect cancer. Hats off!

Source: Times of India

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