My Doggy Doctor

(Not Ollie of course. He has no uniform)

It is well known that dogs can detect illnesses in humans.

Here are some examples I found online.

Last week, researchers presented evidence that dogs could tell from sniffing someone’s socks whether they had malaria. After several months of training, a labrador and a labrador-retriever could tell if a child had the disease even if they were not showing symptoms.

Prostate cancer
In 2015, Italian researchers announced that they had trained two German shepherds to detect chemicals linked to prostrate cancer in urine samples. The dogs were correct in 90% of cases, while the standard PSA blood test is not considered reliable enough for screening. There is an ongoing study in Milton Keynes hospital NHS trust that aims to evaluate dogs’ abilities in a normal clinical setting.

Dogs are already used by diabetics to detect when their blood sugar levels are dangerously high or low. A charity called Hypo Hounds trains dogs to smell tell-tale changes on their owner’s breath or in their sweat. The pets can detect a problem earlier than a glucose monitor.

Parkinson’s disease
Researchers at Manchester University are attempting to train dogs to detect Parkinson’s disease years before symptoms emerge. The work is inspired by the work of a human “super-sniffer” who detected a change in her husband’s odour six years before he was diagnosed.

Breast cancer
Dogs are also being trialled at Buckinghamshire healthcare NHS trust for their ability to detect breast cancer. If dogs could detect this form of cancer from a woman’s breath it would allow more frequent screening; currently, women over 50 are screened only once every three years because of the exposure to radiation involved.

Ollie sniffs me intently, any chance he gets. He will also sniff my clothes when I get undressed. If I have a scratch or a cut, even one so small I might not have noticed it, he will suddenly start to lick my leg, arm, hand, or foot as soon as he smells the tiniest trace of blood. It is believed that licking a wound can actually hasten healing. Hence the old saying, ‘licking his wounds’.

Last week, Ollie started to refuse to take any treats from my hand. If I put them in his food bowl he would eat them, and if I gave them to Julie, he would take them from her. But he flatly refused to accept them from my hand, for the first time ever.

Then on Saturday, I was watching TV quite late and wearing a dressing gown. He suddenly got up and walked over to sniff my legs. He was concentrating intently, sniffing very small areas. Soon after, he began to lick both of my shins. He kept doing it so obsessively, I had to stop him and tell him to go and lie down.

On Sunday, I remembered those facts about dogs detecting illness and injury, so examined my legs for any small wounds. I couldn’t find any.

As for illness, I feel fine at the moment, and have no obvious symptoms of anything. But this morning, he still refused his treat from my hand.

Perhaps I should be worried?

60 thoughts on “My Doggy Doctor

  1. Wow! That’s interesting. Man’s best friend is now man’s best doctor. Dogs were traditionally believed to sniff out criminals can now even sniff out diseases. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to hear that you’re back on Ollie’s “A” list, Pete. I have two ideas on this–one is that he was picking up on your stress give Julie’s scare. Perhaps your BP was a bit elevated. Another is that dogs get quirky over time. Our dear Miss Pup developed some different behaviors and very clear preferences as she grew older.

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  3. That is certainly interesting about Ollie. I know about dogs being able to detect some illnesses, and Ollie’s actions are certainly suspicious. I hope everything is okay, and if this keeps up I would figure out some excuse to get a checkup. I think many doctors are aware of dogs’ sensitivity and ability to detect illnesses, tougj, that if you word it right might not sound too strange if you mentioned it.

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  4. Mans best friend, it has to make you wonder, but as you say how do you approach this one with the doctor, especially if you have no symptoms. I think if he persists for a few more days then I’d find an excuse to seek advice.
    Hope all goes well for Julie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What would I say, Cheryl? My dog sniffs me? There is so much going on at the moment, I think a ‘dog-licking’ diagnosis might be considered to be frivolous, even if it turned out to be accurate later.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, interesting! I know dogs can be trained to do some amazing things – unlike cats who turn up their nose at working. I would definitely pay attention and seek to understand the cause of Ollie’s behavior. But it might be hard to explain the reason for your visit to the doctor. (‘I’m here because my dog licked my shins.’ ‘Huh??’)

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  6. It is intriguing for sure, and you’re right, there are many studies of dogs picking up things or detecting even epilepsy attacks before the person is aware of them. I am convinced that we all change our smell with time, but why he’s changed his behaviour all of a sudden. It’s not the best of times for going to the doctors, but might be worth thinking about a check-up, although it’s likely a random thing. I hope everything is fine with your wife. Love to Ollie.

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  7. Dogs are well known to have super-sensitive noses, and even though scientists have been able to develop artificial olfactory sensors, they still can’t surpass a dog’s faculty. I would try not to worry, but it probably can’t hurt to at least make initial enquiries; how amenable an allopathic practitioner would be to a dog’s interest is another matter……. 😉 I am always wary of letting dogs lick me; my face, most definitely; because I am mindful of the many places they are known to lick. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is worrying when a dog starts to change its habits around you. But in the middle of this pandemic, I suspect a ‘dog-diagnosis’ has little chance of being taken seriously.
      Thanks, Robbie.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmm, that is quite strange Pete. But on the other hand there could be so many reasons for this behaviour that it’s hard to decide what’s really going on🤔
    Still nothing wrong with being cautious I suppose. Maybe it’s just a phase, and in two or three days he will be acting like his usual self again😊

    Liked by 1 person

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