Cancer Dogs: Can Our Canine Friends Sniff out Cancer?

Cancer Dogs: Can Our Canine Friends Sniff out Cancer?

Cancer Dogs: It seems that our fur babies are our new weapon. Doggos to the rescue!

A team of scientists has proven that dogs can truly sniff out cancer. And this canine cancer detection could lead to new non-invasive, and inexpensive ways to detect the disease. Good dog!

THE SCIENCE OF CANCER DOGS

Dogs that detect cancer may sound like science fiction. But the good news is that this could be the most exciting discovery in the cancer field for decades.

A dog’s nose is an exquisite piece of machinery, capable of smelling in parts per trillion. This makes dogs highly sensitive to odours we can’t even dream of smelling. If it was sight we were talking about, it would be like this: What you and I can see at half a kilometre, a dog could see at 5000 kms away, and see just as clearly. It’s impressive stuff.

cancer dogs

EARLY DETECTION

Heather Junqueira is the lead researcher at BioScentDx. Her team are currently working to see if dogs really can spot cancer. For the study, Junqueira and her colleagues used a form of clicker training. They taught four beagles to distinguish between normal blood serum and samples from patients with malignant lung cancer. One beagle – named Snuggles, of course – couldn’t be convinced to stay on task, the hippie. But, the other three dogs correctly identified lung cancer samples 96.7 percent of the time. Aww cancer dogs, who’s a good boy!

“This work is very exciting because it paves the way for further research,” said Junqueira.

We should suck up to beagles, really really fast. Well, except Snuggles. All we can do with that guy is snuggle.

Junqueira isn’t the only scientist that’s getting results like this. Recent research has shown that dogs have detected lung cancer, melanoma, breast cancer and bladder cancer. While more study is needed, the initial results are incredibly exciting.

ANECDOTES

It isn’t just in the lab that dogs are showing their ability to pick up cancer. There are many incredible stories of dogs detecting cancer in their owners, including a story about a dog called Max from BBC’s Secret Life of Dogs.

Max is a Red Collie Cross normally full of energy and enthusiasm, but his owner Maureen Burns noticed that something was wrong. “I thought at the time Max was fading. He was nine and a half and I was preparing myself for losing him because he just wasn’t happy. He would come up and touch my breast with his nose and back off so desperately unhappy. There was such a sad look in his eyes.”

Maureen knew she had a small lump in her breast but her latest mammogram was clear. So she presumed all was okay. “But soon, I connected it with the dog and his odd behaviour.”

Maureen went to her local hospital but both a scan and a mammogram came back negative. It took a surgical biopsy to finally detect the cancer. Maureen had it removed and the change in Max’s behaviour was instant. “When I came home from the hospital, he was his old hyper self again. He put his nose across my breast to check where the operation had been. His eyes were happy and the change in him was instant. I owe Max so much. Now, before I go for a check-up, I get him to check me out. If he’s happy and wagging his tail, I am happy.”

Shannon

Likewise, actress Shannen Doherty has battled cancer more than once in her life. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she told an extraordinary story – that her dog identified her breast cancer before doctors could diagnose it. And interestingly, her story isn’t unusual. There are thousands of stories that are very similar to Shannen’s.

Cancer Dogs: MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED

Many teams around the world are trying to work out how they can use dogs in cancer diagnosis. Dr Gianluigi Taverna is a researcher with Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan. He showed that his dogs could detect prostate cancer with an amazing 98% accuracy. Taverna and his team spent five months training two German Shepherds to detect cancer in humans by sniffing patients’ urine samples. The dogs checked over 900 people in the study. Out of these 900, the dogs were only wrong 20 times.

Said Dr. Taverna, “We have demonstrated that the use of dogs might represent a real clinical opportunity if used together with common diagnostic tools. Our standardised method is reproducible, low cost and non-invasive for the patients. This might reduce unnecessary prostate biopsies and pinpoint patients at high risk for prostate cancer.”

CANCER DOGS – MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Dogs are already used to detect impending seizure activity, and also to help mitigate meltdowns in people suffering from autism. The ability to detect cancer too means that dogs are not only amazing companions and our best friend – but could also save our lives.

Of course, there is a stack of research still to be done. But the future in this area is very bright. There are organisations which are springing up whose sole aim is to train cancer-sniffing dogs. One of these is the InSitu Foundation (dogsdetectcancer.org). They rescue dogs on death row and give them a new life, where they are loved and cared for.

Cancer-detecting dogs could be an amazing weapon against one of the biggest health scourges of our time. We knew we loved dogs for a reason, now there is a whole new reason to love them! Come sleep on our beds forever, doggos!

LINUS THE CANCER DOG

Hero Linus doing his work

This special guy, called Linus, is a 3-year-old male German Shepherd who was on death row. He was returned to a shelter three times by his previous owner. The InSitu Foundation adopted him. When he came to InSitu’s ranch, he got his first job, and it literally transformed Linus’s life. Linus went from a small jail cell to a life of love and play. Says InSitu, “He’s happy, balanced, and well adjusted, and he’s the most loving boy around! Linus loves his work, and he’s a gem on the cancer detection team.”

Linus also works on the Duke University team of breast cancer detection dogs. Read about more cancer-sniffing dogs at dogsdetectcancer.org/our-dogs

Like reading about our furry friends? Then check this doggo story out!

Q Super Centre Summer Shopping – Something for Everyone!

Q Super Centre Summer Shopping – Something for Everyone!

On the corner of Bermuda and Markeri Streets in Mermaid Waters, Q Super Centre is a shopping mecca right in the centre of the Gold Coast’s style map. The Silver team catch up with all the news from the popular shopping haven. Newsflash: There are new stores! Yay!

With the absolutely stunning Summer weather arriving, an outdoor shopping centre is the way to indulge in some retail therapy while enjoying those famous Gold Coast breezes. We can shop for our favourite things, and enjoy being outside as well.

Q Super Centre is on one level only, so there are no stairs to navigate. And it is beautifully landscaped, giving the feeling of being in an oasis, protected from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. So what is happening this Summer at Q Super Centre?

Q Super Centre – New Places to Explore

We all love food! So the good news is that Q Kebab House has burst onto the scene! Look out for Turkish kebabs and pides, homemade sauces, chips, Turkish coffee, baklava, tulumba, and falafel. Yummo! You will find them located near the Woolworths entrance.

There’s also a new café called Seeds of Life. Amazingly, they are a grain-free and gluten-free organic plant-based wholefoods manufacturer. Heidi and her team create the recipes with ‘organic gluten-free nutrition.’ Delicious and healthy! The wholefoods bakery is located at the Aldi end of the centre.

This is where you meet a friend to have gourmet lunches, coffee, delicious doughnuts, cookies and raw cakes. All the products are made onsite. Ingredients are certified organic or biodynamic, and predominantly Australian grown. The range is paleo/ vegan/ low carb/ keto and low calorie.

And that’s not the only brunch date hangout that is brand spanking new! Two Birds One Stone is a uniquely equipped café. It serves coffee and brunch and are getting known for their aromatic coffee which will put a firecracker in your day! They have an intimate knowledge of the foods people crave across the seasons. Grab a mate and try the best vegan breakfast on the Coast. 

FUR BABY FUN

As most of us know, Q Super Centre is becoming very well known as a doggie-friendly shopping centre. There are dog watering stations across the shopping centre, plus handy dog waste bags throughout the complex, and doggies are allowed in all the outdoor areas. Some stores also allow dogs inside.

To make sure dog parents know that Q Super Centre is fur baby friendly, the Q Ambassadog called Sidecar Bob has been deployed. He rides all over the Gold Coast with owner Mark Brereton in his motorcycle side car. He does this to promote Q Super Centre as dog friendly!

q super centre

Community Services

There are plenty of services for those in the community to avail of. There is a free JP service operation 7 days per week except public holidays (although this can change during Covid restrictions, please check with the website to see the schedule.) The JP Service is permanently located next door to Aldi Supermarket. No appointment is necessary.

Q Super Centre also have a food donation bin located outside Woolworths and the donations go towards St Johns Crisis Centre in Surfers Paradise.

There are over 80 retailers including three supermarkets at Q Super Centre. You will also find Bunnings, Pet Barn, and 12 dining choices, speciality stores offering gourmet fresh food, dining, hair and beauty, homewares, medical and health, banking as well as unique and boutique fashion. For more updates, keep an eye on Q Super Centre facebook or Instagram @qsupercentre or log onto qsupercentre.com.au.

Hinze Dam –  A Day Tripper’s Delight!

Hinze Dam – A Day Tripper’s Delight!

Looking for a day trip? Then check out Hinze Dam. The highly accessible walks and facilities make this the day out the stuff of legends.

Hinze Dam, in the Gold Coast hinterland, seems wildly far away, but in fact, it is just 30 minutes’ drive from Pacific Fair. Built across the Nerang River, it was originally constructed in 1976, and significantly upgraded in 2011.

The body of water the dam created is stunning. Of course, it is what we all drink here on the Gold Coast, so its purpose is originally functional. However as an accidental recreation area, it’s a great win for everyone who likes nature and fresh air.

Visually speaking, it quite the sight to behold. The vastness of Queensland’s mountains alongside man’s engineering expertise unite in perfect symmetry. You want to say things like, ‘Ah! The serenity!’ The architecture and landscaping, plus the sheer size of the lake and its shores make this a dam good day out (sorry I couldn’t help it).

It’s the accessibility here that is a winner. There are lots of disabled parks. Also, the paths are wide and flat, and super-smooth… everywhere. There’s a 2.5 kilometre walk over the dam that maintains this flatness and smoothness. Use a walker?

Hinze Dam

Easy Walking

This is a dream walk. Wheelchair? You’ll have the time of your life. Do you simply prefer no steps and a flat surface? You’ll love it. There are no steps, not even from the carpark, to the café, to the dam, to the toilet, across the grounds…no steps. None.

The visitor centre here has an interesting display, and they have informative talks on the dam. Well worth a drop-in. And the café next door has brilliant views and food.

Hinze Dam

We spent a couple of hours at the dam but you could spend all day if you have the time. By the time you have lunch, take a walk in the gardens, cross the dam and just enjoy the beauty of the place, you can easily smash through 3 hours.

The walk along the top of the dam wall is amazing, and it reminds us that we are small little beings who are unimportant entirely. There’s no shade though, so don’t forget your hat! There are well-placed explanatory plaques and information stands detailing the method of construction, the points of interest, the geology and specific types of flora and fauna. And look out for the sign explaining the “climbing eels.” It reminds us all that the natural world can be dam weird.

Hinze Dam

Hinze Dam Picnic Sites

If you want to bring a picnic, there’s many places to set up camp, with beautiful vistas. There are a few shaded tables, but they go fairly quickly, so bring a picnic blanket, just in case.

When there’s drought the drowned trees become visible and there are a number of places that present a very photogenic situation. When there is a lot of rain, the spillway looks incredible. And, when the dam needs to release water, you can be put on an alert service that informs you when this will happen, so you can go that day to see it! (seqwater.com.au/dam-release- notification-service).

Hinze Dam

In all, this is a great place for Silvers. It is a very peaceful area, with the silence broken by the odd kookaburra and smaller birds. You realise how quickly you can get to deep forest so close to the ocean. This place has a nice combination of science, environmental information (the hydroelectric power), scenery, tranquillity, and artistic landscaping. The whole area is a selfie paradise, and it would make a great wedding backdrop. 

To organise a function room at the café, call 07 5563 0313. To check opening times at the visitor centre, click here.

Or perhaps you’d like a trip abroad?

Silver Hero Volunteers to Help Animals of the Outback

Silver Hero Volunteers to Help Animals of the Outback

Our Silver hero Leesa volunteers her spare time all across regional Australia to help both humans and animals. Here, she tells us about her volunteering adventures.

VOLUNTEER TRIPS

On Thursday Island, we did our first pilot program and that was with Vets Beyond Borders and AWLQ, and the Thursday Island Animal Support Group. I volunteered as a vert nurse, helping with health checks, doing an animal management program, desexing dogs, treating dogs for parasite treatment, and also talking to their owners regarding tick treatments, and unwanted pregnancies or unwanted litters.

silver hero

I absolutely love volunteer trips, I have been volunteering as a vet nurse with AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) for 11 years now. Plus, I volunteer in remote communities, Aboriginal communities, everywhere from Western Australia through to the Northern Territory and regional Queensland.

A lot of this is helping in the indigenous communities to do a desexing program. We want to desex more dogs. I know in some of the indigenous communities, they can have 10-15 dogs in a household. So cutting that down is an aim. There are often quite a lot of stray dogs in communities, and they can cause problems as well as having lots of litters, and if there are a lot of male or un-desexed dogs, there can be issues between male dogs having fights over female dogs. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of wounded animals, and a lot of puppies to look after. 

There’s also a problem with parasites – some are zoonotic. So that means that the parasites can transfer from humans to animals, or animals to humans. And so we help treat the dogs. We also do an educational program through schools, and with the community, and elders, just explaining what we do. We explain simple things from washing hands after the kids are playing with the animals, and how to hold your dog properly. What’s good food for cats and dogs, things like that.

silver hero

SILVER HERO – VET NURSING

As a vet nurse, I help set up our surgery area, also help with vet students and vets, making sure that we have all the proper instruments and attire, so that they can do their surgical work. I help the flow-through of patients.

One of the places we visit is Yuendumu, in the NT. AMRRIC is based in Darwin. We meet in Darwin, and then it’s about an 11- or 12-hour trip in the car to go there. There’s a team of us, usually, two vets, a two nurses, if we are lucky! We meet with the rangers or community members, and they help us work out where we’re going to be situated and where we’re going to stay.

I am a general practice vet nurse. So, I have my normal job and I have to either take unpaid leave or holiday leave. But I love the volunteering and I will do is as long as I’m still mobile and I can still get around. I always laugh with the ladies or whoever I’m out on the trips, and I’ll say, I’ll be out with my walking stick. And I love the interaction between people and their animals. I love to be able to help with animal welfare and make life better for animals and for their owners as well. I get to see lots of parts of Australia that you would not necessarily be able to go to because you would need special passes or permits to get into some of these communities. The day I have to stop, I’ll be really, really upset.

FUNDING

The funding for these trips comes from different sources. There are charities like AWLQ who help with the funding for Thursday Island. In other places, the councils fund the trips. We also try to get donations from drug companies for tick and flea treatments, for example. And a lot of the nurses and vets as well will donate some of the stock from their own practices as well.

AWLQ do a great job, and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. Due to being involved with the Thursday Island program, I’ve got to know Sylvana from AWLQ, and she’s just wonderful. And the work that she’s done as well in her time is amazing. I would love to do more work for AWLQ. I’m actually leaving tomorrow to go back for another week on Thursday Island, in conjunction with AWLQ! There is a lot of work to be done there. We’re always very, very busy once on the island. We have got an extra couple of team members this time! But we will still be working 13 to 14 hour days.

The AWLQ and the Thursday Island Support Animal Support are taking in unwanted or stray dogs. They are getting them back to health and adopting them out. Not just to the people on Thursday Island or the surrounding islands, but they do often go off to New South Wales and Queensland to loving homes.

SILVER HERO – VOLUNTEERS WANTED

We are always looking for volunteers. We need admin people, to help people fill out forms. There are also some statistic duties, where often we will do counts in certain communities just to get an idea of how many houses, how many people, and then how dogs or cats or pigs or horses that are owned as well.

With this type of volunteering, you’re forever learning. There’s always courses. There’s always something new to learn. It definitely brushes the cobwebs off!

Through organisations like AWLQ, Vets Without Borders and others, you’ll find amazing vets, vet nurses and then other volunteers that give up their time for the animals and people who need them. Everyone’s likeminded. They are wonderful people that come and volunteer. Even small things make a difference, like helping to clean some of the cages, to grooming animals, to watching them wake up from their surgeries.

There’s always going to be dogs and cats that need help and love. So as long as I’m around, I will be involved.

Be a silver hero and donate to AWLQ, or to leave a bequest, click here.

To volunteer, click here.

Or pick up the phone and call (07) 5509 9000

silver hero

New Work Trend: Bleisure Travel

New Work Trend: Bleisure Travel

New Work Trend: As baby boomers extend their careers, and Generation Z workers launch theirs, we’ve arrived at four-generation workforce.

Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, Millennials and Gen Zers each have their own perceptions of work and personal time – both at the office and when they travel for business. But across all four groups, there’s a clear trend: That elusive goal of “work-life balance” is giving way to a more fluid “work-life blending” that better fits the dynamic schedule of the modern worker.

Work and Play

According to the National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey, 65% of people believe it’s an unrealistic goal to keep work and leisure separate. Instead, more than half of respondents are now blending work life and personal life. The survey found most business travellers engage in some form of bleisure travel, including incorporating leisure activities into business travel, extending business travel into leisure trips and booking a holiday around a business trip.

Millennials are more likely to have done bleisure travel than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. In addition, senior/executive leaders are almost twice as likely to extend their business trip into leisure travel or book a holiday around their business trip than non-managers.

new work trend

When travelling for business, workers who engage in bleisure travel report better quality of life while on the road than non-bleisure travellers. They also report such additional benefits as following a healthy diet, exercising and coming back feeling invigorated.

Seventy-nine percent of bleisure travellers are more likely to volunteer for a business trip if they know they can extend their stay, and fewer people felt the need to downplay their leisure activities to their boss or their coworkers.

Importantly, the majority of bleisure travellers believe business travel contributes to their career success and helps them build key relationships they otherwise couldn’t without business travel.

Like travel stories? Then check this out.

Canine Myofascial Therapy: Animal Pain Be Gone!

Canine Myofascial Therapy: Animal Pain Be Gone!

Canine Myofascial Therapy: Katie Hunt is the name behind the new pet service called Canine Myofascial Therapy. She tells us all about what she does for pets in pain. 

Is your pet in pain? Have they slowed down or can no longer jump onto the couch or into the car? It could be myofascial pain. This is pain in muscles or fascia (a type of connective tissue that surrounds muscles). Myofascial pain can appear in any body part on animals. The pain is steady, aching, and deep, ranging from mild discomfort to excruciating and “lightning-like.” Knots may be visible or felt beneath the skin, and the pain does not resolve on its own.

Canine Myofascial Therapy: Animal Pain Be Gone!

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy using trigger-point release techniques can be very effective in pain relief of this condition. Once the trigger points are gone, the animal is then able to move that muscle more freely again. They will regain a range of motion to the limb the muscle was affecting, whilst supporting the long-term health of the local muscle system.

Dry needling for the treatment of myofascial pain is also a useful tool. It is a modern treatment designed to ease muscular pain and its popularity is growing. Dry needling is called this because no liquid is injected into the body. Therapists place a stainless-steel filiform needle into the “trigger points” in muscle or tissue. The needle helps release the knot and relieve any muscle pain or spasms, increasing blood flow to the area and stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities.

Dry needling must not get confused with acupuncture although the same type of needles are used. Acupuncture works on the body’s energy flow and meridian pathways.

Hydrotherapy

Katie is currently in the process of starting up her own hydrotherapy clinic here on the Gold Coast.  Hydrotherapy is an underwater treadmill. It helps your pet to regain muscle strength after surgery (and other medical issues including weight loss). The buoyancy of the water helps to take the weight of the joints so the animal can exercise with minimal pain whilst building strength, muscle mass and increase their mobility and agility.

Enter Canine Myofascial Therapy, started up by Katie Hunt. She has quite the qualifications in her arsenal, including a certificate in Animal Dry Needling, through the Australian College of Eastern Medicine. She has Cert 4 in Vet nursing, a Certificate in Canine Hydrotherapy, Cert 111 Animal Care and Husbandry, Cert 111 Captive Animals (zookeeping certificate).

Says Katie, “I have been in the animal industry for 20 years. I started out working in pet shops and volunteering at Zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, trying to gain as much experience as possible with every and any animal. But I don’t have a favourite I love them all. I started vet nursing in 2005 and then became a zookeeper not long after, specialising in reptile and avian care. In 2013 I wanted more out of my job and to be able to care for my animals in a more in-depth way. I decided to go back and study vet nursing but specialise more in the care of wildlife. So, I did a 12-month placement at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. I have been a general practice vet nurse for the past 7 years and was previously a vet nurse for AWLQ at Coombabah and Daisy Hill.”

 Canine Myofascial Therapy: Animal Pain Be Gone!

Canine Myofascial Therapy: Dry Needling Benefits

Since discovering the benefits of dry needling to relieve pain on pets, Katie has been offering dry needling treatments since the beginning of this year. “I currently dry needle at the Aussie Pet Collective in Slacks Creek and a few other locations along the Gold Coast and Tweed area.”

Katie is passionate about making animals better. “It all started in 2005, I got a kelpie Dalmatian cross puppy and named her Indiana, at only four month of age she was hit by a car and needed her back leg amputated. Because of her 3 legs we did lots of swimming to keep her muscles nice and strong, and this helped to take the weight off her remaining legs. I was very aware of how this could affect her later in life.

“In 2017 she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and given 6 months to live, so we got a little brother for her and me – Paddy the Frenchie. Indiana went on to live another 3 years! Unfortunately, I had to make the devastating decision to put her to sleep, a month before her 15th birthday. She is my reason for studying hydrotherapy and dry needling. She was my soul dog. I want to help all the 3-legged and 4-legged puppies! I just want all animals to be able to live and experience a pain-free life.”

Katie has experience with all sorts of animals from geckos, crocodiles and snakes, cats and dogs, to goats, chickens, horses and cows. If your pet suffers from any of the above conditions, you can contact Katie.   

 Canine Myofascial Therapy: Animal Pain Be Gone!

Canine Myofascial Therapy:

THE MOST COMMON SIGNS OF PAIN IN YOUR PET

-Decreased activity – take notice if your pet is not playing as much as usual

-Not going up or down stairs – could be an early sign of osteoarthritis

-Reluctance to jump up onto surfaces – this especially applies to cats

-Difficulty standing after lying down, is a sign of osteoarthritis

-Decreased appetite – this can be a sign of mouth pain

-Over-grooming or licking a particular area – can be a sign of referred pain


CONTACT KATIE

0433 653 383

k9hydrotherapist@gmail.com

Instagram @canine_myofascial_therapy

facebook.com/Caninemyofascialtherapy

Here’s some advice on dealing with tick season!

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