Dog’s canny noses

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DOGS are able to sniff everything from drugs to electricity, underground gas pipelines to ovulating animals, as well as detecting human illnesses. Simply by sniffing human breath samples, scientists believe that dogs can detect lung, breast and other cancers within an 88 to 97 per cent accuracy rate.

Some dogs can identify people with bladder or prostate cancer by picking up on odours in their urine. In comparison, the accuracy rate of a multi-million euro hospital scanner is between 85 and 90 per cent. 

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Dogs can also be trained to determine when people with a heart condition or epilepsy are about to suffer a seizure and alert them. Some dogs are able to warn as early as five hours before first symptoms of epileptic fits became visible.

Dogs are thought to have more than 220 million odour receptors, depending on the breed, while humans only have about five million.

 


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