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9 Responses

  1. TB
    TB July 6, 2012 at 7:38 am | | Reply

    “Talking Hypo Alert Canines”…here I am thinking that the dogs are shouting blood sugars at you..”Hey, hey, doofus! Your blood sugar is 46! Drink this orange juice!”

    Kidding– cool article. I wish I could train my black lab/giant schnauzer to sense lows.

  2. Eileen
    Eileen July 6, 2012 at 9:34 am | | Reply

    I’ve always wondered: what happens when these dogs have to sleep?

  3. Terry
    Terry July 6, 2012 at 9:48 am | | Reply

    Mike – Thanks for this coverage of these specially trained dogs. I’ve lived with a hypo alert dog for for over two years now. My dog greatly increases the quality of my life. I live alone and the extra layer of safety that he gives me is immeasurable. He’s not 100% accurate but he dependably gives me accurate alerts every day.

    One night, while I was fast asleep, my dog jumped up onto my bed and licked my face. That’s his signal to me to test my blood sugar when I’m sleeping. I didn’t feel low and I quickly looked at my CGM and it read something like 89. I then did a fingerstick and was startled to read a 32!

    Ten minutes later, as I was gulping down some juice and giving my dog a special night-time peanut butter treat, the CGM sounded – beep, Beep, BEEP! The CGM alarm was delayed due to its inherent 15 minute lag time. Since my blood sugar had fallen very fast, the CGM may not have been able to wake me up in that situation.

    I know this is just an anecdotal, n=1, story but my belief in the value of hypo alert dogs was cemented that night. They are wonderful to live with and also mitigate the increased incidence of depression that diabetics experience. I use all the latest technology including a pump and CGM but sometimes low-tech is best!

  4. SaraMyers
    SaraMyers July 6, 2012 at 11:13 am | | Reply

    My Springer Spaniel, Charlie provided alerts for me for close to 15 years. At first I had no idea why he was suddenly bothering me – did he need to go out? Want some attention? Didn’t take me long to figure it out. My other springer spaniel doesn’t have this particular gift. How I miss my Charlie May he be chasing birds in the sky! RIP.

  5. Rose Kennedy
    Rose Kennedy July 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm | | Reply

    So you think dogs are trainable to alerting low blood glucose episodes? Well, shame on you, because living with me is this amazing, low blood sugar seeking cat. This beautiful calico, named Dolce (Italian for sweet, and she was named by my daughter several years ago when the “D” was living with her-NO I AM NOT KIDDING!) lets me know in no uncertain meows that it’s time to test my BG. In fact, during the overnight hours, Miss D makes enough noise to wake the dead whilst sitting atop my chest! She is 100% correct every single time! Take that, you “trained” dogs of the world! Dolce has never been trained but you must know that I have a close bond to all animals living with me. me?…52+years, t1, and counting. Yeah, counting my blessings>

  6. Anne
    Anne July 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm | | Reply

    I just brought home my yellow lab puppy, Roman, this week and am working with a trainer to have him be a Diabetes Alert Dog! So excited!

    1. Dan
      Dan July 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | | Reply

      Hi Anne,
      You are at a great starting point. I did not start out to “train” Maggie. The wet shirts, pjs at night are the signal odors for a low blood sugar. It was during my resting, sleeping mode that maggie became really alert. You do not have to worry that the dog will sleep through the event. Maggie never did and it nis the odor of the condition! Check out the book: Inside of a Dog, What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz.

      Some state governments are now issuing Medical Dog designations to help diabetics and you can take them with you.

      Hope this helps and as always have a great day.
      Dan

  7. kathy
    kathy July 7, 2012 at 6:28 am | | Reply

    I’m really excited to see this. I’ve been training my dog to be a DAD and he’s doing really well. But, its difficult to train something that you can’t see or sense. Approaching this scientifically will help progress this important field. If the identifying properties of the high/low scents can be factored out and reproduced, it would allow more confident training.

    I’m intrigued by the use of sweat samples. I use saliva and everything that I’ve read indicates that this is what is commonly used in the training of DADs.

    Great story. I hope to hear more about this.

  8. Dan
    Dan July 7, 2012 at 11:24 am | | Reply

    Hi MikeH..
    It was good of you to write about this topic. There are tooo many anedotal stories. Mine is a nine plus year history with a dog. Next, a few years back, PBS ran a program about Dogs that changed the world and there is a section on medical dogs. One of which was a documentary of a dog trained to wake parents prior to the young child “falling” into a severe hypoglycemic state. Check my comment on your article regarding your wedding vows. The safety forces of the country have canines which …find the living, find the dead, find crops which people attempt to bring into the country, durgs, and etc. My story involved a puppy, Maggie, which entered our family when I transitioned to an insulin pump. When I did not “smell right” she let me know. It is on a you tube, Dan and Maggie 2. As always have a great day.
    Dan

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