by Alanna Ketler |
Over the years, countless dog owners have shared stories about their dogs saving their lives. Perhaps the most common feat shared is that of dogs who are able to sniff out cancer and tumours and then alert their owners in some obvious way. It has been said that cancerous cells and tumors produce chemicals and aromatic compounds that dogs are able to smell, and therefore detect, a change in their owners’ scent.
Take Penny for example, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – she had been pestering her owner Sharon Rawlinson, 43, for months, smelling and nuzzling the area where, unbeknownst to Sharon, a very aggressive tumor had been growing.
“Penny was pawing at me for weeks,” Rawlinson said. “She would gently paw me as if she was trying to get something out of my left breast, but I ignored it. When she stood on me in the middle of the night and wouldn’t get off, the pain was like a thousand bee stings, and the next day I felt bruised.”
Many dogs are trained to detect cancer and this is actually quite common!
“They are far more attuned to us than any other species, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to say dogs have detected cancers and they are very responsive to things. It doesn’t surprise me that this dog detected its owner’s cancer,” said Dr. Jacqueline Boyd, course leader for animal biology at Nottingham Trent University.
This may sound like a fairly common story to you, but the next one may be a bit more shocking.
Lucy The Tortie Detects Breast Cancer In Owner
Lucy is a tortoiseshell cat who came from a rescued litter of kittens. She was very friendly from the moment her owner Elizabeth met her, but little did Elizabeth know, this friendly, trilling kitty would eventually save her life.
According to Elizabeth, on a morning like any other, Lucy’s snuggles seemed a little strange. She insisted on pressing into her left breast with her head. Elizabeth ignored this and carried on with her day.
The next day however, Lucy did the same thing, but with even more persistence. As Elizabeth reached across to push Lucy away she felt a lump.
A week after that Elizabeth went into surgery and had the lump removed. A few years later, after a series of treatments and surgeries, Elizabeth was cancer free and she had her sweet kitty to thank.
Are Cancer Sniffing Cats Really That Rare?
It may seem rare, and it seems unlikely that many people would have heard of this phenomenon before, but there are in fact many reported instances of cats detecting cancer in their guardians. I read that one of the reasons cats aren’t as well known or appreciated for their ability to detect cancer is that scientists have not yet been able to find a way to motivate the cats into doing so (which gave me a good laugh!). Cats certainly like to do things on their own terms and in general are not the best at learning tricks.
It has been said that the animals which are the closest to humans have the easiest time detecting cancers, tumours, and other diseases because they are most used to our scent and can therefore detect even slight changes which can then point to a number of different health concerns.
Do you know an amazing cat that has showcased some amazing behavior? Share in the comments below!