Here is a lovely story from the BBC News website about Magic, the medical alert assistance dog, who has been trained to detect a change in the blood sugar levels of his owner, Claire Pesterfield who suffers from type 1 diabetes. Claire’s condition is more problematic than most as her body does not display warnings signs that her blood sugar level is dangerously low; Magic is literally a life-saver!
Dogs are known as man’s best friend and their powerful sense of smell means they also have the potential to save lives – detecting changes in blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetes patients and urine samples from those with prostate cancer.
Magic leaps up, placing his paws on his owner’s knees, his brown eyes staring into hers. It is a routine he has done thousands of times. Magic is a medical alert assistance dog, and has been trained to detect a minute shift in the blood sugar levels of his owner, Claire Pesterfield. Using his superior sense of smell, he is capable of detecting tiny odour concentrations – around one part per trillion.
Without Magic’s assistance, changes in her blood sugar levels could put her at risk of a seizure, or – in extreme cases – the onset of a coma. Claire has type 1 diabetes, but – unlike most people with the condition – her body does not display the warning signs that a dangerous episode might be about to occur.
“I’ve used all the latest technology that’s out there, and it still doesn’t give me enough warning to prevent the episodes, or make them less severe,” she tells the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.
“But Magic can give me up to a 30-minute warning that I need to take action.
“In the three and a half years we’ve been together, he has alerted and potentially saved my life 3,500 times. And he does it all for a dog biscuit.
“I know without him, I wouldn’t be alive today.”
Claire works as a children’s diabetes nurse, supporting and educating children with type 1 diabetes and their families. She says she would not be able to do the job were it not for Magic, as she would be at risk of collapsing mid-meeting.
“Without him I would be testing my blood glucose level every 20 or 30 minutes, to try and pre-empt what was going to happen,” she explains.
Having Magic also sends the message to the children she works with, she adds, that, “You can still live life to the full when you’ve got diabetes.” to read the entire article click here