There have been reports from all over the world claiming that animals can predict the presence of medical conditions. One that’s commonly talked about is animals who can detect cancer. One 2006 study into this found that five dogs, who had been trained to detect cancer based on breath samples, could identify those patients who had lung cancer with 99% accuracy.
Recently a study into dogs that could alert their owners to oncoming migraines was carried out, and it was found that of the 1027 participants, 54% noticed changes in their pet’s behaviour preceding or during their migraines. Of these, 60% said that their dog had alerted them to the oncoming attack an hour or two in advance of its onset. The dogs in question were not trained migraine-alert dogs, but just their family pets.
Researchers aren’t sure yet exactly why dogs may be able to sense oncoming migraines, but. Kendall Winship, one migraine sufferer who has a service dog, has a theory:
“These [migraine alert service] dogs are highly valued because the ability to tell when a migraine is approaching is an innate talent; it can’t be taught. Similar to diabetic alert dogs that can smell when their handler has low blood sugar, migraine alert dogs can hone in on the scent of serotonin, a chemical that skyrockets when the body is about to have a migraine. By alerting to the danger long before their handlers might feel any symptoms, these dogs can warn them to take preventative medication.”
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