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Trained medical dogs can monitor diabetes


Posted on Sunday, 11 May, 2014 | Comment icon 8 comments

Dogs can prove invaluable in monitoring sensitive conditions. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Specially trained medical detection dogs can have a huge impact to the lives of diabetes sufferers.
Most people will be familiar with guide dogs for the blind, but a relatively new type of dog training has been proving that man's best friend is capable of offering a lot more to patients than previously realised.

Claire Moon suffers from Type 1 diabetes and as a result needs to check her blood sugar levels multiple times a day to avoid them falling too low. "I used to stay awake, or wake up every hour overnight, testing my blood sugars 20 times a day," she said. Failure to act in time meant that she could fall in to a diabetic coma and die with very little warning.

Seven months ago however Moon received a specially trained medical detection dog to help her. The dog is able to detect her glucose levels with its strong sense of smell and then alerts her either by nudging or licking her to let her know that she needs to take action.

"He links the alerting behaviour to a reward," said Moon. "He gets a little special treat, a bacon and cheese thing, so he knows that smell and that action he's just done is right, and he'll remember it for next time."

Since having the dog it has successfully alerted her more than 800 times.

Source: BBC News | Comments (8)

Tags: Medical Detection Dogs, Diabetes

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by lisaloveslilia on 11 May, 2014, 11:27
Dogs are pretty awesome! Its cool to see them being utilized more in ways that they are naturally in tuned to. They could be a HUGE benefit in the medical field. I'd like to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future! Plus...did I mention dogs are awesome?
Comment icon #2 Posted by tagace1 on 12 May, 2014, 12:33
i wonder if we could train my friends dog to do this for her. I would gladly train it myself if it would help her
Comment icon #3 Posted by YukiEsmaElite0 on 12 May, 2014, 12:34
Ah, this is because diabetics get a fruit-y smell about there breath when they sugar is too high or too low (or at least it does for me). A girl at the school I attend has a dog for just that purpose, though I'm sure her sugar isn't that out of control...
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer on 12 May, 2014, 15:37
USA Networks' Roal Pains used this a couple of seasons ago.
Comment icon #5 Posted by rashore on 12 May, 2014, 16:05
I know a very nice guy that has a little chihuahua for his diabetes. She's a darling dog, exceedingly well behaved.
Comment icon #6 Posted by DieChecker on 13 May, 2014, 20:56
Doesn't surprise me. Didn't they find that dogs can smell cancer in patients also?
Comment icon #7 Posted by regeneratia on 13 May, 2014, 21:44
how did they get a phto of my dog? I am not diabetic, because I don't take statins. However this photo looks a lot like my dog.
Comment icon #8 Posted by lisaloveslilia on 14 May, 2014, 3:22
Doesn't surprise me. Didn't they find that dogs can smell cancer in patients also? I do believe I've heard that before. Dogs have amazing sense of smell! Think I also heard a story about a dog sensing his owner's oncoming heart attack. Pretty amazing!


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