No really. I'm not making this up.
I saw fascinating snippet on BBC Breakfast today featuring a mum and her young type 1 daughter. They are one of the first families in the UK to benefit from a specially trained 'assistance dog' which can detect hypo- and hyperglycaemia by changes in the scent of the diabetic.
Yup that's right! Amazingly the dog can sense when the girl's blood glucose levels are either too high or too low and alert her. In one instance at a family disco where the girl had been dancing away with her brother, on returning to the table the dog began licking and nuzzling her before rummaging under the table and fetching her blood glucose meter. Her bg level had dropped to 2.5mmol/l. The dog sleeps in the girl's bedroom and will go to fetch her parents if her blood glucose levels drop too low overnight.
There are currently 10 dogs in the UK, trained by small charity 'Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs'. The dogs have been placed with type 1 diabetics with poor hypo-awareness. The work still seems to be in its early stages, but it is hoped that the trained dogs will be allowed to register with Assistance Dogs UK and granted the same status as guide dogs for the blind.
Dorcasdog - I will be expecting great things from you next time you come to stay...