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Tag: odor

Dogs can detect prostate cancer, study says

A French study says dogs can sniff out signs of prostate cancer in human urine — a finding that could lead to better cancing-sensing technology, according to its lead author.

While some scientists have questioned similar reports of dogs with such diagnostic powers in recent years, French researcher Jean-Nicolas Cornu, who works at Hospital Tenon in Paris, said, “The dogs are certainly recognizing the odor of a molecule that is produced by cancer cells.”

Researchers don’t know what that molecule is,  according to U.S. News & World Report, but the study’s findings could prove useful in the detection of cancer, which often goes undetected until it is too late to treat.

Urine tests can turn up signs of prostate cancer, Cornu said, but miss some cases.

In the study, two researchers spent a year training a Belgian Malinois, a breed already used to detect drugs and bombs.

The dog was trained to differentiate between urine samples from men with prostate cancer and men without. Ultimately, researchers placed groups of five urine samples in front of the dog to see if it could identify the sole sample from a man with prostate cancer. The dog correctly classified 63 out of 66 specimens.

If the findings hold up in other studies, they’ll be “pretty impressive,” said urologist Dr. Anthony Y. Smith, who was to moderate a discussion on the findings Tuesday at the American Urological Association annual meeting in San Francisco.

Chicago looks at 5-dog limit

A Chicago alderman wants to limit Chicagoans to five dogs per household.

Alderman Ray Suarez, having reined in 27 co-sponsors, introduced his legislation Wednesday — designed, he said, to reduce sanitation and odor problems, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Neighbors have been complaining about the unsavory sanitary conditions,” Suarez said. “It stinks. It’s terrible. They don’t pick up after their dogs. Their backyards are loaded with dog waste. We have to call Animal Control, the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Board of Health. You have to take ‘em to court. It’s just not right.”

Actually (opinion alert) we’d argue that it is, and that there is a system in place — as he notes — for dealing with problems. Some people can handle six dogs. Some can’t handle one. But rather than deal with cases as they arise, here’s another city, yet again, as with pit bull legislation, setting arbitrary rules and limits based on what irresponsible people might do, as opposed to what responsible people (pun alert) do do (end pun, end opinion).

Over the years, aldermen have repeatedly called for a three-dog limit, only to be shot down by Mayor Daley. At Wednesday’s meeting, Suarez said he proposed a five-dog ceiling to ease opposition from dog owners, who have tended to mobilize when a three-dog limit is proposed.

“We’ll try and we’ll discuss it,” Suarez said. “If it doesn’t pass, it doesn’t pass. But, I wanted to bring it up.”

The inner workings of a cold slimy nose

Many a dog owner has wondered what’s going on in their pooch’s head — but even more fascinating may be what’s going on in his nose.

A team of Pennsylvania State University researchers, led by Brent Craven, say that the layer of mucus in a dog’s nose helps it pick up and sort scents as they travel to receptors.

Or, as New Scientist magazine put it, “Dogs extraordinary ability to sniff out anything from cocaine to cancer turns out to owe much to the gunk inside their nose.”

Dogs have many more nerve cells in their nasal cavities — and a complex network of snot-coated tubes that also “pre-sorts” smells, which may make it easier for the brain to identify them.

Craven and his colleagues used MRI images of a dog’s nasal airways to develop computer models of how air travels thorugh them. The researchers observed that different molecules were picked up by nerve cells at different points along the nasal passages.