Healthcare News & Insights

Baa-aad medicine: Meet Alfie, the cancer-detecting sheep

A British sheep named Alfie is being credited with diagnosing his owner’s cancer and sending her to the doctor for treatment.

Emma Turner of Wroughton, Wiltshire says that last October, her usually mild-mannered pet sheep Alfie repeatedly head-butted her in the chest. Alfie was so worked up, it took three people to settle him down. A nasty bruise with a lump in the middle of it developed the next day, and Turner went to the doctor to have it checked out.

At the local hospital, doctors examined the lump and discovered Turner had early stage breast cancer. According to Turner, the doctors said the lump probably would’ve gone undiscovered for years — and spread to other parts of her body — if Alfie hadn’t forced the issue and sent her to seek treatment sooner.

Turner has undergone chemo and is scheduled to get a mastectomy. Her prognosis is good. She fully credits Alfie with saving her life. And for skeptics, she points out that Alfie has been his usual sweet-tempered self since the one and only case of head-butting last fall.

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