Service animals no longer just for blind

by Leanne Thompson on June 24, 2011

Service animals, like blind dogs, are of vital importance to the people that they care and provide a service for. However there are many more dogs that are being used to help try and detect illnesses such as cancer, comfort patients in hospital and aid people that have difficulties with their mobility. There has been a huge rise in demand for dogs who can provide these services.

guide dogs not just for the blindHospitals have seen advances in technology with biopsies and CAT scans that confirm cancer and people getting blood tests done that will confirm diabetes. However there is a new tool that can be used too help detect these illnesses. Dogs.

Dogs are able to detect signs of illnesses in humans and in a lot of cases are proving more accurate and quicker results that are much more cost effective than laboratory tests. They can detect signs of Skin, lung, breast, and ovarian cancers by their sense of smell according to a scientific study that was carried out.

Training for service dogs has also now expanded and dogs are learning new skills. They are now able to alert diabetics when they sense they have a serious drop in their blood sugar levels. Dogs can also help autistic children socialise and help patients that are sufferings from post-traumatic stress disorder. Dogs are also able to alert a deaf parent when they hear their baby cry.

“Dogs are pack animals, programmed to please,” says Rebecca Johnson, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction. “They’re trained to do extraordinary things.”

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