Can Dogs Really Smell Cancer?
Within the last few years, we have read about many dog owners’ stories regarding their dog’s cancer detection. But are they able to detect it?
The answer is yes! Dogs have an extraordinary skill of smelling chemicals even found in traces as parts per trillion. So this is the time you need to pay attention when your dog shows a weird behavior towards your body.
We all know of the unusual smell senses of dogs, but it indeed surprises us when it comes to such an invisible threat as cancer. There are many stories where dogs saved the lives of their owners by expressing a response to changes. Your pet is not just any pet!
How Can Dogs Detect Cancer?
The question that hits our minds is what makes them so unique. You are a human with 6 million smell receptors, why can’t you detect cancer? Because dogs have 300 million smell receptors!
That’s a huge number. Isn’t it?
Dogs can smell the ting volatile chemicals given off by cancerous cells. Once they know something is wrong, they sniff into that part. They show unhappy behavior and back off. This behavior usually alerts the owners.
Another thing is the Jacobsen’s organ behind the nose of the dogs. It gives sniffing power to a dog that screens chemicals too. All this information move to the olfactory lobe in the brain. The dogs’ olfactory lobe is the size of a walnut compared to humans, just a pea-size.
Do we still need more reasons? We don’t. But do you know about the vomeronasal organ in dogs? It is located on the roof of the mouth that detects hormones and hormonal changes.
How does cancer smell like?
We can’t smell cancer, but some humans can. Maybe because of your blocked nose due to allergies. But cancer really gives off a smell!
The cancerous cells release volatile chemicals. When cancer attacks and divides, there are reactions in the body fighting it. The body biologically changes, and cancer originating part may have lumps. Dogs can smell the change in breath, sweat, body odor, saliva, and urine.
The cancerous cells that dominate the body are different from normal cells, and dogs may easily identify them. This phenomenon leads to the invention of machines as electric noses for the cause.
Training Given to Dogs
Medical experts appreciate this superpower of dogs, considering them harmless and less risky to the patients.
You must have heard of laboratories training dogs to specify cancerous samples from others. Even in the early training, dogs succeed in detecting almost 22 out of 50 samples accurately!
If there is no cancer, they move to the next sample. But if dogs suspect it, they keep sniffing around it. The records show breast, lung, ovarian, skin, and other cancer detections.
If you pet a dog, pay attention to its behavior. These loyal creatures are now lifesavers too! Experts are doing more researches every day to find more about the topic and use it for everyone’s welfare.