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The sound of cats purring – also from the internet – can bring inner peace. So too a walk with “man’s best friend” – even one on prosthetic legs.

Now, a team of US researchers is working on a quick, pain-free method for the early detection of canine cancer.

First, a urine sample is required. Next, using so-called Raman spectroscopy, researchers analyse how laser light is dispersed by the molecules within the sample.

The resulting patterns are checked against a large collection of dog urine scans, including those where cancer has already been detected.

Initial tests suggest an accuracy rate of 90%. Regular screenings – not just for dogs – could soon occur in a doctor’s surgery.

For humans, similar research is already underway. 

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