(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.
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.
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.
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?