Dogs May Be Able to Detect Prostate Cancer, Study Says ‘So That’s What’s With All the Butt Sniffing’

Prostate cancer is a serious threat to men, but who wants to submit to a digital rectal exam by a doctor? You could do a prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening test, but it’s notorious for false positives and for failing to detect aggressive cases of prostate cancer. Well, one recently published study seems to suggest that there’s another way – and it involves dogs doing what they do best: sniffing. And no, we don’t mean your butt.

A pilot study from Medical Detection Dog found that canines can detect aggressive cases of prostate cancer simply by smelling urine samples. The pups, which are specifically trained for this purpose, detect the disease with 71 to 76 percent accuracy.

While this study doesn’t mean dogs would be deployed en masse to sniff patients’ pee in the future, scientists believe they can use the study data to create an artificial neural network that could recognize the same compounds that the fur babies’ noses were picking up on.

So the next time Fido tries to get a whiff of your rear end, don’t be offended. He really is doing it for your health.

Cover Photo: Photick/Jean Louis Aubert (Getty Images)

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