Dogs in Medicine
Dogs are helping us in several important medical areas. The first one are dogs that are directly helping people with disabilities. Those are called service dogs. Then we have the therapy dogs, who are trained to provide comfort and affection for people with different mental ilnesses – for example an anxiety. Next area, where dogs are our big helpers, are so called medical detection dogs, who are for example able to detect some forms of cancer. And lastly but not least we have the dogs in medical research. The fate of these dogs is kinda sad, but they are definitely helping us, the people, because thanks to them, some new drugs have been explored.
Lets start with the service dogs. If you are watching this channel for longer time, you probably know, that i was training a puppy as a future service dog for a blind person. But service dogs are not only helping people with visual impairment. People with hearing impairment, epilepsy, seizures or mobility impairment can also benefit vastly from having a service dog. People with diabetes and post traumatic stress disorders are also frequent owners of these dogs.
The service dog must have good physical and mental characteristics. They must be big and healthy enough to help their owners but they also must have great temperament. They must be patient, extremely trainable, eager to please and pretty loyal. Two breeds, that are used most by far, are Retrievers (especially the Labs) and German Shepherds.
The dogs are helping with various tasks and it really depends on what their owners need from them. They can be leading blind person on different routes (for example to the shop), they can calming down people, they can picking up dropped objects or alert hearing disabled on alarm and bell.
Service dogs are not only helping their owners with the disabilities, they are also helping them emotionally and they are improving their social life. But if you are in need of emotional support, you can also have the therapy dog.
The therapy dog is professionaly trained dog, which is providing affection, comfort and stress relief. They are not only used by individuals, but also by hospitals, retirement and nursing homes or in areas of disaster.
I think all the people who owned a dog will agree, that dogs can help us when we are not feeling well and they just make us happy. So its no wonder that they can help people with real issues, like anxiety and depression. Its proven, that only touching a dogs fur is calming our mind. Dogs are also helping people with depression and anxiety, because they are giving them daily program. They just have to go out with the dog, they have to go feed them. Having a dog will entertain the mind, which is a big help for mental ilnesses.
Now lets talk about the medical detection dogs. Those are professionaly trained dogs to to identify human diseases by sniffing out unusual odours. Dogs have extremely sensitive noses and even though it might sound like science fiction, they are truly able to detect cancer, malaria or neurological diseases from different samples, for example from samples of urine, faecal, and skin swab.
It’s likely that all diseases are associated with biochemical changes that cause changes in odours emanating from our bodies. That is the reason, why the dogs are able to detect these diseases.
But medical detection dogs are also helping as so called medical alert assistance dogs. They are basicly helping people who are having life threatening health problems, especially diabetes and Addisons disease.
The dogs are able to detect small changes in blood sugar levels or hormon related odour changes. When the change is too big, the dog will alert its owner, so they have more time to find proper help or to get their medicine.
And now the sad part of the video, which is about the medical research dogs. As you probably know, not only dogs are used for medical research. This table shows us how many and what animals are used for this purpose in the USA.
Probably the most important scientific researches, where dogs played their role, were the use of insulin to treat diabetes and the discovery of anti rejection drugs for organ transplants.
Majority of dogs used in this industry are Beagles, because of their trusting personality. They are too loyal and friendly to people, that they can be manipulated to doing almost anything.
Most of the people who are watching these videos have dogs and we can not imagine the life without our four legged friends. But for some people, the dogs are more than that, they are literally giving them freedom and in some cases, they are keeping them safe from dying. Dogs are just playing amazing roles in humans lifes.
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