Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Pets Saving Lives
We rely on physicians for our medical care. But animals can also diagnose diseases. In the near future - they may be just what the doctor ordered. Marilyn Mitzel shows us why in protecting your pet.
One day they may assist dermatologists.
Veterinary Researcher Lawrence Myers: "People can simply go into a dermatologist's office and the dog can check them over instead of waiting for them to notice an abnormally shaped or colored mole."
Is it weird science or are they medical sleuths in the making?
Lawrence Myers: "Just because something is low tech doesn't mean that it's not as good, if not better than a number of high tech methods."
It's not so far fetched.
After all - animals have much greater instincts than humans.
And their sense of smell is 100,000 times more sensitive.
These pups are becoming prostate cancer detectives. Many diseases give off certain odors from our skin - breath and urine.
Psychobiologist Jim Walker, Ph.D.: "Any disease where there is any reason to think there are chemicals cues coming from the body, it makes sense to investigate if the dog can help the diagnosis."
Animal trainers say if we can teach them to sniff out drugs and bombs - we can teach them to sniff out any thing.
Service dog trainer Siobhan Fromm: "We've had dogs that alert to blood sugar, blood pressure, migraine headaches and heart attacks."
Felines have a nose for medicine too.
Susi is diabetic. Her cat can tell when her blood sugar is low.
Susi Johnson: "He'll keep nudging me until I get up to go check it and sure enough it's low."
Even while she's sleeping.
Susi Johnson: "He would deliberately come over and whop at my face or actually nip at my leg until I got out of bed."
Can you say doctor dog?
Jim Walker, Ph.D.: "The aim is to put together the dog with current conventional diagnosis and simply get much better."
Or doctor cat! Either way - don't be surprised if your physician and his four legged staff examines you.
Siobhan Fromm: "They constantly surprise us with what they can come up with - The anticipation and the true love and devotion that they have to taking care of their person - It's really phenomenal."
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