Dogs sniff out diabetes

An English research center trains dogs to detect disease.
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Jul 09, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Can dogs smell diabetes? Researchers at Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs research center in Aylesbury, England, think so. The charity, which has worked on honing dogs’ skills so they can spot signs of cancer in people, is currently training 17 rescue dogs to warn diabetics when their blood sugar levels begin to drop.

According to a Queen’s University Belfast study conducted in December, 65 percent of 212 insulin-dependent diabetics reported their pets were aware of impending hypoglycemic attacks. Respondents said that before or as their blood sugar levels fell, pets began to whine, bark, or lick them. Researchers suspect the dogs’ highly sensitive noses are able to catch subtle changes that give them advanced warning. Trained dogs will be placed with diabetic owners, many of whom will be children.