Animal Update: Medical Alert Dogs

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(KCBS) – Strange but true – dogs’ scenting abilities can help humans with medical needs.

Indeed, dogs can detect various illnesses with their keen sense of smell.

“The list keeps growing,” said Jennifer Scarlett, DVM, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA. “Now, there’s a lot of information about dogs detecting cancer – prostate, ovarian, lung, colon cancer just to name a few.”

“We’ve also been able to detect early infections of bacterial disease,” she continued.

“And, where we’ve seen a lot of press is around dogs being able to help patients with diabetes and epilepsy,” said Scarlett.

One key benefit for humans – the potential for early detection, particularly when it comes to otherwise pricey or belated detection of such diseases as cancer.

“Around diabetes in particular, having a companion dog for early alerts when your blood sugar is dropping can not only be life-saving but life-altering, allowing people to live more full, independent lives,” she suggested.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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