Over the years many studies have suggested that dogs may have the ability to smell cancer in humans, and earlier this month, the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center began training three carefully chosen pups in hopes of putting that theory to the test.
The dogs were chosen through a year-long selection process in which 16 puppies identified as good candidates to be working dogs were eventually whittlef down to three via a series of tests, including how well they were able to communicate with their handlers once they had successfully found a sample.
Just a couple of weeks in to their training, the dogs have already begun to show some serious sniffing skills. Under the tutelage of Dr. Cynthia Otto, director of the Working Dog Center and associate professor of critical care at Penn Vet, the pups are currently identifying tissue samples which contain the disease. According to Dr. Otto, the ultimate goal is for the animals to identify blood, saliva, or urine samples tainted with the disease, which would eventually provide a low-cost method of cancer screening that could potentially save millions of lives.
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