Friday, October 29, 2010

Service dogs for diabetes?

Service dogs are used for a number of odd things.  For instance, I've read about service dogs being used to detect a seizure coming on — I guess they can smell the difference in the person.  Heaven knows how you train a dog to do that!

I've always wondered whether dogs (or other animals, for that matter) can smell the difference in a diabetic who is crashing.  Do my dogs know that something isn't right with me, even if they haven't been trained to do something about it?  Furthermore, does my horse know if I'm riding him and my blood sugar goes high or low?

I guess dogs at least can sense it, according to this article about service dogs used for diabetic patients:

Dogs alert diabetes patients when blood sugar is off

I think the idea of a service dog for this is fascinating.  The only thing I don't like about the article is the big deal it makes about this little girl crashing.  Seriously, she is crashing more than 6 times a day?  And is "knocked out for an hour" every time?  And her parents had to check on her to make sure she hadn't gone into a diabetic coma during the night?

I am coming to realize that the media likes to exaggerate the dramatic moments of diabetes, and is probably eager to use someone as an interview subject who embodies the drama they are looking for.  Because really, most diabetics, if they are in good control, shouldn't crash that often or be at risk a diabetic coma every night.  And hey, it's not like you should have to need the dog's detection skills 6 times every day in order to deserve a service dog.

But I am getting away from what I am most interested in, which is: Do any diabetics out there have pets that respond to your low blood sugars in some fashion?  I'm talking about just regular pets here, not trained service dogs.  Have your cats, dogs, or other animals ever indicated that they know when you are crashing?

No comments: