There is increasing evidence that dogs are unfailingly able to detect and even predict disease in humans in some cases.
Our faithful four-legged friend can, according to the latest research, accurately smell cancer in humans at an early stage.
During a Japanese study, a labrador was used that was specially trained to distinguish between persons with and without the disease. A group of 48 colorectal cancer patients was compared with a control group.
In more than 90 percent of the breath tests and stool samples, the labrador gave the correct ‘diagnosis’. Compared with the usual diagnosis, in which a camera is brought into the intestine via the rectum, the accuracy of the dog was higher.
Earlier it was discovered that the Belgian shepherd is able to discover prostate cancer on the basis of urine samples.
The two studies show that cancer probably carries a specific odor that can be discovered by trained dogs in breath or urine of patients. In fact, researchers established in 2006 that a trash can dog accurately distinguished between the breath of lung and breast cancer patients and that of people in a control group.
Dogs can also be trained to identify bladder cancer based on urine. In the same way, dogs have been able to detect cancer by blood or skin. Current test methods fail or hardly succeed in detecting the disease at an early stage.
Dogs can also ‘feel’ certain disorders. For example, they can be trained to warn about an epileptic seizure. They often know to give their boss a signal up to three quarters of an hour before the attack.
In conclusion, dogs seem to have a built-in mechanism to detect hypoglycaemia in diabetics, which means that the blood sugar level is too low. In an attack, dogs often start barking, licking or jumping against the owner.