How Much Does It Cost To Get A Diabetic Alert Dog?

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Dogs: A Different Kind Of Cgm

Diabetes alert dogs have amazing powers. But finding the right dog is still more of an art than a science. By the time Max yanked the headphones off of Liam Kelly’s head, the teenager’s blood glucose level was 48. Engrossed in a video game, the boy hadn’t responded to a nudge, a paw in his lap, or a thrust. The dog’s fourth attempt to get attention, however, did the trick, forcing Liam to stop playing and test himself. The broken headphones were a small price to pay for avoiding a hypoglycemic event. As you may have guessed, Max is a diabetes alert dog. Trained to use his superb sense of smell to detect changes in his owner’s blood glucose level, the black Labrador retriever is Liam’s constant companion. It is tempting to think of him as a canine CGM. Max is such an important part of his owner’s life that 18-year-old Liam includes paw prints in his “Type 1 diabetic alert“ tattoo. According to Liam’s mother Lisa Kelly, who is founder of the Dogs For Cures Foundation (www.cureswithinreach.org), Max’s awareness of her son’s high and low blood sugar events is so remarkable that she often feels that the dog’s skills “are nothing short of miraculous.” Like o Continue reading >>

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  1. FartyBanana

    This is Duncan the Service dog. He alerts his owner by bumping him with his nose when he senses that his blood glucose levels are out of range. Another alert/response he has been trained to do is to bring a juice box to his owner when they are at home. This has actually saved my friend's life once when he fell into a paralyzed-like state and couldn't get up. Duncan brought him a juice box and he was able to get his glucose back up.
    Edit: holy crap I wasn't expecting this! I just want to address some common questions:

    He'll close the damn fridge if you tell him to. He can open and shut doors, but he's gonna make sure you're solid first. He is apparently no longer asked to shut the fridge due to his nails scratching the stainless steel.

    I termed it a "paralyzed-like" state for lack of knowing what to call it. He was more "stuck" and needed some help. He wasn't stable enough to stand, but had use of his arms.

    We don't really know why exactly Duncan brought me a juice, as he isn't supposed to do that for other people. I remember that I was starving at the time, so my sugar was probably low, and my friend had stepped out for a few minutes, so he probably just didn't know what to do. "You smell that way that Dad isn't supposed to smell like. Here's a juice."

    If you want to help with service dogs, look into a training facility near you. If you can't give monetary donations, volunteers are usually needed.

  2. styroducky

    How does he sense glucose levels?

  3. FartyBanana

    It is a scent. The trainers provide scent samples, preferably from the future owner of the dog, though sometimes they obtain them from volunteers. My friend would actually ziplock and freeze a shirt he was wearing when he was out of range and mail it to the company to use to train with.

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