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Browsing by Subject "operantti ehdollistuminen"

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  • Pikkarainen, Heidi (2018)
    Canine’s sense of smell is extremely accurate and several times better compared to human’s olfaction. A large odor detecting area inside the dog’s nasal cavity and a huge number of olfactory receptors enable dogs to detect many different kinds of odors. No wonder, there has been conducted a number of studies concerning dogs’ ability to sense smells from different sources, for example smell of cancer. Cancer types studied include human bladder cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian and lung cancer, and the results were promising in many of these studies. So far none of the studies has focused on canine mammary tumors. Canine mammary tumors are very common especially in female dogs, and a half of them is known to be malignant. Early detection of mammary tumors is a significant factor in evaluating the prognosis of dogs suffering from mammary neoplasms, and that is why we decided to make a study concerning dog’s olfaction as a diagnostic tool in detecting canine mammary tumors. The aim of our study was to examine whether dogs could be able to train to detect canine mammary tumors from urine samples with using only their sense of smell. We also wanted to estimate the sensitivity, specificity, repeatability and accuracy of the dogs’ scent detecting abilities. Our hypothesis was that it would be possible to teach dogs to detect canine mammary tumor smell from dogs’ urine samples with good results. Urine samples of healthy and possible cancer patients were collected by our research group. Positive samples were diagnosed by a pathologist. A questionnaire including information about the dog’s background was sent to the dogs’ owners, so that we were able to identify the samples more accurately. For the training part we had six sniffing dogs from different breeds and different training history attending our research. As a training method we used a clicker training and operant conditioning. The training was very intensive and already after few weeks we got promising results. The actual validation part of the study was not able to conduct because of lack of relevant samples. However, sniffing dogs could be used as an assisting tool in detecting canine mammary cancer beside other diagnostic tools. In the future sniffing dogs could also be used in detecting the specific odor molecules of cancer.