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Stranger than Fiction

Research shows dogs can predict illness

Published:Wednesday | September 1, 2021 | 11:33 PMBANG Bizarre, A Digital Integration & Marketing production

Family dogs may be able to predict a medical emergency for their owner, research has revealed.

It was previously thought that the ability to sniff out health problems such as epileptic fits was only possessed by the most intelligent animals or in those with special training but a new study suggests otherwise.

Experts gave a group of 19 dogs samples of sweat from epilepsy sufferers and volunteers without the condition. The pooches were then observed pawing at their owners when they smelt the seizure odour that had been pumped out through a tube.

Lead researcher Dr Neil Powell, from Queen's University Belfast, said: "This study suggests any dog, of any breed, could predict a seizure before it happens. The dog senses something is not right and tries to get their owner's attention."

The findings could provide a vital early warning for the 600,000 epilepsy sufferers in the UK. 

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