Cancer Detection Dogs recently gained the spotlight for their ability to accurately smell cancer in breath, blood, or other tissue samples. These unique medical detection dogs undergo specialized training to alert their handler to the presence of cancerous cells. While this branch of scent work is relatively new, using dogs to detect, locate, or verify scents has been done for thousands of years. What is BioScentDX? BioScentDX, a company specializing in using canines for cancer screening, presented the results of their recent cancer detection research and studies at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting held during the April 2019 Experimental Biology symposium. Dogs, BioScentDX says, can be trained to detect cancer from scent samples with 97% accuracy. Heather Junqueira, the lead researcher and study director at BioScentDX, says dogs offer a low-cost, minimally invasive way to screen high volumes of patients. Quicker, cheaper methods of detection allow for earlier discovery of cancer, which allows for treatment to begin during the early stages of the disease. "This work is very exciting because it paves the way for further research along two paths, both of which could lead to new cancer-detection tools," said Junqueira. "One is using canine scent detection as a screening method for cancers, and the other would be to determine the biologic compounds the dogs detect and then design cancer-screening tests based on those compounds." Dogs' Brains Specialize in Processing Scents The canine brain prioritizes scent over the other senses. Furthermore, it dedicates a whopping 40% of sensory function to processing scents and smells. This allows dogs to reliably identify and catalog millions of smells. When a trained detection dog encounters a target odor, they alert their handler so appropriate action can be taken. For some detection dogs, the target odor is drugs, explosives, or the scent of a missing person. For others, like the cancer detection dogs at BioScentDX, the target odor is cancer. There are several breeds of dogs capable of locating and identifying scent diluted to parts per trillion. Beagles, Labradors, and German Shepherds rank high among them. "Parts per trillion" looks like a single spritz of perfume in a stadium or a half teaspoon of sugar tossed into an Olympic sized swimming pool. Another way to look at parts per trillion is with time -- it's the equivalent of 1 second out of 32,000 years. BioScentDX exclusively uses Beagles for their cancer screening programs but other researchers have ran
Every reputable Service Dog organization and program worldwide recommends or requires alteration of working Service Dogs and Service Dogs in Training. With all the conflicting reports, myths, and misconceptions surrounding spaying and neutering, though, many find it difficult to know when the ideal time is to spay or neuter a growing dog. Read on for a scientific overview! Veterinarians across the world perform thousands of routine alteration surgeries a day. In the United States, spaying and neutering has become commonplace. Spaying or neutering a dog is supposed to provide behavior and health benefits, while also preventing contributing to the overpopulation of shelters and rescues. However, this routine surgery has come under intense scrutiny, especially when performed on very young dogs. Working Service Dogs are typically altered to provide easier care for the handler. Neutered male dogs often showcase fewer temperament issues. Spayed female dogs don't require intense supervision twice a year and special hygiene practices. Additionally, working Service Dogs shouldn't be benched to have puppies, as their handlers need them. Male Service Dogs shouldn't have to face the distraction of females in heat or the urge to breed. Assistance Dog programs utilizing in-house breeding programs usually have breeding stock with the proper aptitude and temperament for producing excellent Service Dog candidates. However, these dogs very, very, very rarely work as Service Dogs. Instead, they usually live on site at the program facility or in off-site guardian homes. Occasionally, a program or breeder may take a semen collection from an exceptional male prior to neutering him. Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Spaying and neutering provide multiple health and behavior benefits. Most notably, surgical alteration reduces the chances of various types of cancers found only in intact dogs and bitches. Alteration also helps prevent reproduction-related behaviors many people find offensive, like marking, humping, or flagging. Many veterinarians believe spaying or neutering at the right time plays a part in reducing aggression or territorial behavior. Finally, multiple studies demonstrate that spaying and neutering often prolong lifespan. In females, spaying before the first heat cycle results in drastically reduced chances of breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs frequently in intact bitches, with over 50% of cases malignant. Altering a female during adolescence reduces the chances of mammory tumors to .5%, whereas spaying after the first or second heat cycle results in an 8% and 26% chance. For males, neutering eliminates testicular cancers and age-related prostate problems. By 6 years of age, 70 to 80% of
Does your dog ignore you - but not your spouse or trainer? Does your dog turn a deaf ear - in your direction? Your dog may be trying to tell you something - but you are not listening; listening that is - the way your dog is listening. It may be that your tone of voice matters when training your dog.
This summer, a university research team led by Ragen McGowan decided to find out if dogs enjoyed working, or if they only enjoyed the reward/payment for working. The finding? Dogs love to work! Read on to find out what the McGowan study means for you and your Service Dog.