Charity backs cancer detection dogs
Dog training and behaviour experts, Surrey based Company of Animals, has announced its support of a new UK charity – Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs.
Cancer cells are known to produce chemical compounds, which are different from those made by normal health cells, and it is believed that some of these are likely to have distinctive odours.
Claire Guest teamed up with Amersham Hospital to experiment to see whether dogs could be trained to detect bladder cancer from the odour of urine.
Optimising a dog’s natural sense of smell (which is estimated to be a million times more sensitive than that of humans) Guest successfully developed a training programme for a team of six dogs.
The dogs were taught to discriminate between urine from bladder cancer patients and urine from both healthy people and patients with diseases other than cancer.
Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs Trustee, Animal Psychologist and founder of The Company of Animals, Dr Roger Mugford, commented:
‘The fight against cancer is one of the greatest challenges faced by mankind. Today, dogs are widely used by the police and the army to detect drugs and explosives, which highlights how their incredibly strong sense of smell can be turned into making a positive contribution to our human world’.