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Alerting Dogs helpful to Diabetics

Mar 21, 2008
This would be great news for you if you are worried with the blood sugar level of patients having diabetes. It has been proved that dog has the ability to sense the change of diabetics' blood sugar level. Dogs have already shown themselves capable of leading the blind, alerting the deaf, and helping the physically disabled with daily tasks. Anecdotal reports suggest that some dogs can perform early warning of hypoglycemia by using their sense of smell to 'sniff out' if their owner's blood sugar levels are dropping.

Dog's keen sense of smell gives it the ability to watch over the blood sugar levels of diabetics. Dogs are able to detect through their 5th sense. Dogs for Diabetics use Labrador retrievers that don't graduate from guide dog school. These dogs usually flunk for reasons such as refusing to walk in the rain or step onto an escalator - all skills important for being a working dog, but not a general assistance one. These dogs undergo three to four months of training similar to what is used to prepare dog to detect narcotics or explosives. The 2-year-old canines are first taught to detect scent samples of low blood sugar. Then they learn to find that scent on people, and alert others by holding in their mouth a soft tube that hangs from around their neck.

A few years ago, when hypoglycemic alert dogs were first announced, this announcement coincided with the new glucose sensors that were about to be released. This caused many people to be skeptical. However, skeptics have been won over in favor of the dogs. Dogs are extremely sensitive to subtle changes in their companions. A hypoglycemic patient may emit a characteristic odor that may begin anywhere from five to forty five minutes prior to an actual attack. The dog will then give their owner a warning so that the owner can take necessary precautions to either prevent the attack or make sure that they are in a safe environment.

No one knows which chemicals cause the scent change related to the sugar imbalance. Scientists are not entirely sure as to how a dog can sense the changes in their human charges. Despite this uncertainty, these hypoglycemic alert dogs have provided parents of young children, and adults whose medical history made it unsafe to live alone previously, a sense of relief.

In the United States, there are over twenty million adults and children with diabetes. Diabetics need to test their blood regularly to avoid highs or lows that can cause organ failure.

Dogs that successfully complete training are accurate about 90 percent of the time. Many people, devastated with the disease have expressed interest in acquiring these dogs for themselves as a personal 4-legged blood sugar detector. The special glucose sensors diabetics wear don't always work, either due to mechanical dysfunction or because of evening medications that hamper their ability to respond to the sensor. But exactly what the dogs notice when a person experiences a blood sugar low is still a mystery. Research is still going on to verify whether dogs can reliably detect dangerous blood sugar level drops in diabetics. We hope to find out what cues dogs pick up on so they can officially be recognized and trained as early-warning systems for diabetics.
About the Author
Julia Hanf author of the book How To Play the Diabetes Diet Game and Win Through a real life crisis Julia figured out how to live diabetes free. Visit http://www.yourdiabetescure.com and learn more about your solution for diabetes.
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