Cats and dogs are fun to have around. They give so much love and companionship and they literally become part of the family. But did you know they can actually do more than just keep you company and show you affection? Cats and dogs can actually detect diseases; some have even saved their owners lives.
So how do cats and dogs detect certain diseases? They do it mainly through scent. Many people have shared testimonials about how their cat or dog has saved their life by detecting these diseases early on. According to Ted Gansler, MD, MBA, director of medical content for the American Cancer Society says that malignant tissues release different chemicals from normal tissues, so it’s not a surprise that animals can detect the difference.
Five of the diseases cats and dogs have been able to detect are: breast cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, epilepsy (i.e. an oncoming seizure), and diabetes (i.e. low blood pressure). These are not all of the diseases that they can detect. Cats and dogs, including other animals, have been said to be able to detect other kinds of diseases and even predict death. Some of these animals go through a special scent-based training; however this is a natural ability that some cats and dogs already have without any training.
While more research still needs to be done on using cats and dogs to detect diseases, they are a pretty reliable source for detecting cancer. In the 2011 Gut journal research revealed that “Labrador retriever trained in cancer scent detection correctly identified 91% of breath samples and 97% of stool samples from patients with colon cancer.” Of course this does not replace current forms of cancer screenings.
Many people believe that animals have a “sixth sense.” And it is true that there are some instances that science can’t explain how these animals know certain things. For example, Lawrence Anthony, aka The Elephant Whisperer, died last year in March 2012. He rescued and rehabilitated elephants around the world. Two days after he passed 31 elephants walked over 12 miles to his residence in South Africa. According to Lawrence’s wife, these elephants had not been to their house in over three years. She said they stayed for 2 days and 2 nights without eating anything, and then they left.