Dogs have a much more advanced sense of smell than humans do, and humans have been utilizing the olfactory capabilities of canines for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. They are much better at sniffing out game trails, detecting illegal substances, and locating missing people and pets by scent, and we have used these skills to our advantage. In more recent decades, we have discovered that they are also able to detect certain illnesses and imbalances in our systems as well, such as imbalances in blood sugar levels, impending seizures, and in some cases, even certain types of cancer. These medical detection dogs play an important role in human health from service dogs for the diabetic to dogs that are employed by hospitals to check blood and urine samples for indications of disease.
Medical Detection Dog Names in Pop Culture
While man has employed dogs for many jobs due to their olfactory abilities, utilizing their skill for the purpose of detecting illness is a fairly new concept. The first dog that was officially trained to detect hypoglycemia was in 2003 in California, and since that time many people have been paired with dogs trained to detect when their human's blood sugars go abnormally high or abnormally low. A few years later researchers were beginning to suggest that perhaps the dogs would be able to detect other disorders and diseases as well, maybe even certain types of cancer.
Dr. Claire Guest began training dogs to detect the specific odors of cancers, including breast cancer, and founded the Medical Detection Dogs in England. Her own dog, Daisy, was one of the first canines that were trained to detect the chemicals in the patient’s urine, or on their skin or breath, that can indicate that cancer has developed. Dr. Guest originally started training Daisy as a pup in her dining room, and that effort ended up saving her life when Daisy detected a tumor in her owner’s chest. When Daisy began pawing at Dr. Guests chest, the dog’s behavior alarmed her, so she decided to get it checked out professionally. Medical professionals confirmed, there was a tumor deep in the tissues, so deeply that it would have been quite large by the time that it was detectable by touch and it is likely it would have spread. The tumor was removed along with her lymph nodes, and after five weeks of radiotherapy, she declared free of cancer.
Daisy went on to evaluate over six thousand five hundred samples and detected cancer in around five hundred and fifty of them, an achievement for which she was awarded the Blue Cross Medal when she was ten years old. She retired from professional sniffing shortly after that to her home in the countryside near Buckingham, but before retirement, she helped in the training of a team of twelve other dogs. The dogs that work at the Medical Detection Dogs center now are trained to detect diseases and disorders, not only breast cancer, but also bladder, colorectal, and prostate cancers as well as Parkinson’s disease, malaria, and certain types of harmful bacteria. Along with the detection dogs that worked at the center, Medical Detection Dogs also has twenty-five medical assistance dogs who spend their lives with patients with severe illnesses in order to warn them of danger.
Medical Detection Dog Name Considerations
Some people might even choose a name like Spike, Mia, Penny, or Uma, in honor of one of the personal pets that saved their human companion's life by alerting their owners to the presence of cancer. The dogs that detect diseases are still pioneers in their field, so honoring a medical pioneer that came before them is another great option. Human pioneers such as Alexander Flemming, the father of antibiotics, or Marie Curie, the first person to use radioactivity against cancer, are good name choices. Canine pioneers such as Armstrong, the first dog trained to detect hypoglycemia, or Tinker, the first dog to be registered in England as a diabetes alert dog can be considered, too.