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Canine Cancer Detection Front Royal VA

Going in to a doctor’s office to have a suspicious lump checked? Imagine your surprise at finding at your doctor’s side an assistant wagging a tail and sniffing you vigorously. Is this more pleasant than just about any other diagnostic screening? Yes. As reliable? Possibly.

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Sniffing Out Cancer

Going in to a doctor’s office to have a suspicious lump checked? Imagine your surprise at finding at your doctor’s side an assistant wagging a tail and sniffing you vigorously. Is this more pleasant than just about any other diagnostic screening? Yes. As reliable? Possibly.

While some may shudder at the thought of being analyzed for cancer by a wet nose, the brain attached to that nose does an amazing job of sorting “normal” from “abnormal.”

In addition to cancer, sniffer dogs can signal hyper- and hypoglycemia and possibly seizure activity. As written by the authors who first talked about canine cancer sniffers, “[T]he adjunctive use of animals with highly developed sensory modalities in cancer diagnosis is worth considering—and is infinitely better than using dogs to study tobacco carcinogenesis.”

It all began in 1989, when dermatologists broke their story in The Lancet about a 44-year-old woman whose border collie/ Doberman mix incessantly sniffed, and one time tried to bite off, a thigh mole confirmed histologically as malignant melanoma. 1 They explained, “This dog may have saved her owner’s life by prompting her to seek treatment when the lesion was still at a thin and curable stage.”

What unfolded from there has created a mystery that leaves researchers scratching their heads. The canine tumor tattling that started with skin lesions (melanoma and basal cell carcinoma) extended to breast and lung cancer and even urinary tract neoplasia.

The dogs don’t...

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