I am continually amazed at the loving, endearing and even life saving relationships that people create with their pets. Dogs have long been used for a variety of medical conditions, such as lowering high blood pressure, assisting the blind and helping relieve depression; now this list is expanding with new stories of what dogs can accomplish. Canines are now being trained to smell cancer, as well as being able to detect dangerous blood sugar levels in their human companions.
Trained Alert Dog Helps Manage Diabetes
One of these stories concerns an 8-year-old child named Johnny who lives with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (also known as juvenile onset diabetes) is a very scary condition for anyone to have, particularly for a young child.
A person with Type 1 diabetes does not produce adequate amounts of insulin for normal regulation of blood glucose; this requires regular monitoring and input of insulin into the blood stream. Too much insulin can push blood sugar to deadly low levels, while too little insulin can send blood glucose to dangerously high extremes.
Either of these states causes a medical emergency, and can also possibly result in a coma, or even death. For those who are lucky enough to survive hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, damage to the brain, eyes, kidneys, liver, heart and peripheral circulation are acute complications of high or low glucose levels in the blood.
This is where “Hero” comes in. Hero is a Labrador retriever who has been trained to smell the slightest change in blood glucose levels, and can find help if there is any trouble. A Virginia based company, Warren Retriever and Guardian Angel Service Dogs, has been training clever canines how to protect their diabetic owners from the perils of blood sugar fluctuations.
Dogs Sniff Out Lung, Colorectal, Skin, Bladder & Ovarian Cancers
In addition to assisting diabetic patients, dogs have also been trained to detect early manifestations of many life threatening cancers. Oncologically speaking, this is a major advance in diagnosing, treating and extending the lives of people who have cancer. These dogs have consistently been found to be far more accurate than many of the clinical tests available for finding certain types of cancer — and early detection is the most important factor for beating the disease.Photos of Labrador Retriever by emildom75