Dogs can Alert Diabetics if Glucose is too High or too Low
Man’s best friend can detect when glucose is too high or too low in type 1 diabetics. This is quite amazing. We marvel when we see guide dogs leading the blind and now man’s best friend can be trained to detect when a person or child with type 1 diabetes is in danger from a drop (hypoglycemia) or an increase (hyperglycemia) in levels of glucose (sugar). Low glucose, hypoglycemia, is potentially life-threatening if it goes unnoticed. Now dogs can help to improve greatly the quality of life in people who suffer from type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a very serious disease. People and children with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin injections to keep their blood sugar in balance. However, if sometimes the insulin causes blood sugar to drop too low, which leads to hypoglycemia, the diabetic must take some sugar to raise it to a normal level. If not, they can lose consciousness and even die. Likewise if blood glucose is too high, the diabetic must take some insulin. Keeping their blood sugar levels in balance is a major challenge for people with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is mainly genetic and often shows up in children.
Study Showed that Dogs Alerted Owners for 83% of hypoglycemic Events
A study was launched by researchers at the University of Bristol Veterinary School, together with Medical Detection Dogs, to determine just how effective trained dogs are at alerting their owners to changes in the levels of sugar in their blood. Results of this study were published January 15, 2019, in the journal PLOS ONE. The study reviewed how 27 dogs reacted to changes in the levels of glucose. Results showed that in more than 4000 hypo and hyperglycemic incidents, medical detection dogs were able to alert their owners in a non-invasive way for 83% of hypoglycemic incidents.
Medical Detection Dogs
Medical Detection Dogs are specially trained to detect the odors of human diseases, so that they can be able to help people with dangerous illnesses like type 1 diabetes.
Bio-detection Dogs are trained to detect odors for various diseases, like cancer, in breath, urine. feces and skin swabs.
Medical Alert Assistance Dogs
Medical Alert Assistance Dogs are trained to recognize subtle, minute odor changes in their owners in order to alert them that a serious medical event has occurred, such as changes in glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes. Dogs alert their owners either by jumping up on them or by licking them vigorously.
Types of Dogs Used in the Study
Retriever first generation crosses (e.g. Golden x Labrador Retriever or Curly Coat x Labrador Retriever; n = 12)
Labrador Retrievers (n = 6)
Bichon Frise (1)
Cocker Spaniels (2)
Poodle cross (1)
Staffordshire Bull Terrier (1)
English Springer Spaniel (1)
Yorkshire Terrier (1)
Five of the dogs actually belonged to the owner and some were provided to the families by Medical Detection Dogs. It takes about 18 months after applying to receive a dog. Some owners had noticed that their dogs seemed to know when they were not well and their sugar levels were not in balance and so they sent their own pets for special training.
More Research is Needed
The researchers claim that more research is needed. They found some differences in the way that some of the dogs responded. For instance, two of the 27 dogs apparently made mistakes in more than half of their alerts.
Diabetes Monitoring and Care
If you or your loved one have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are in need of a short-term rehab or long-term skilled nursing, be sure to choose a facility like Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey that offers expert diabetes monitoring and care.
It is wonderful to see how man’s best friend can help people and children with serious diseases like type 1 diabetes.
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