A bio-detection dog is a dog trained to identify conditions and diseases in humans using its sense of smell. Dogs can be trained to identify cancer, or minute changes in body odor that reflect dangerous sugar levels in people with diabetes, Addison’s Disease, or the smell of an oncoming seizure. These alert dogs can warn their owners, bring vital medical supplies, and even call for assistance.
For nearly 15,000 years dogs have lived with and served us as companions, hunters, shepherds and most recently detectives. Canine Detectives take advantage of the hundreds of millions of odor receptors they have in comparison to only a few million for humans. Over the last century, their incredible nose makes dogs sought after by nearly every segment of society.
Cancer detection, as was other medical condition detection, was spontaneous. In 1989, The Lancet published a case report about a woman whose dog showed a persistent interest in a mole on her leg, which turned out to be skin cancer. Subsequently, other similar anecdotal stories have been reported, including dogs that behaved strangely when their ownders developed bowel, cervical, and breast cancer.
The first controlled research study of canine biodetection was published in 2004 in the British Medical Journal. Church et al demonstrated that dogs can be trained to identify the smell of bladder cancer within urine. As part of Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs, he and other researchers are continuing to research the subject.
The Pine Street Foundation recently announced a study in which their preliminary results suggest that human exhaled breath condensate (EBC) may provide an important source of biomarkers for early detection of ovarian cancer. They tested the ability of trained dogs in California labs to distinguish ovarian cancer from controls using samples of exhaled breath condensate with accuracy of over 97%.
Cancer isn't the only debilitating disease we as humans can get. In Jan of 2019 we delivered a dog to a girl in Maine, USA who suffers from Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. If you've ever seen the movie "The Boy In The Bubble", that is pretty much how this girl lived for three years. In her bedroom with air purifiers and other equipment to keep her from anaphylaxis and a visit to the ER. Vists to the ER were frequent. Until Keeva came into her life. Read about Keeva here.