Dogs Can Detect Medical Conditions

(hla) Dogs have been discovered to be useful for another type of service to man; they can warn diabetic patients when their blood sugar levels are becoming low.

The powerful sense of smell of canines is no new story. Alexandra Horowitz, dog-cognition researcher at Barnard College, claims in her book 'Inside of a Dog' that dogs can even detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water.

A study was conducted on dogs who were trained to warn 17 diabetic patients whenever they were about to be hypoglycaemic. These specially-trained dogs, supplied by the UK charity - Medical Detection Dogs, are believed to be able to use their highly developed sense of smell to detect physiological changes from a person's sweat or smell of breath. The dogs were said to exhibit different behaviours when their owner's blood glucose levels became low. Such behaviours include licking, barking, biting, nuzzling and hyperactivity/excitement.

Although the research conducted involved a very small group of people and one can therefore argue that the results may not be representative enough, it is still nonetheless interesting to highlight that 15 owners agreed that they trusted their dogs to alert them whenever their blood sugar levels were low, while 13 also trusted the dogs to warn them whenever their blood sugar levels were high.

Unattended hypoglycaemic cases can cause severe health consequences from mild dysphoria to severe brain damage. Hypoglycaemic patients usually normalise their blood sugar levels by consuming food items with rich sugar content.

While these dogs may be useful for a large number of people in our society, these specially-trained dogs for medical purposes are limited. The UK charity mentioned earlier claims to have a waiting list of three years for dogs.

Apparently, the canines' sensitive sense of smell may also not only be limited to identify one's blood sugar levels in the medical, but also detect lung cancer and bowel cancer as other recent studies have shown.

By Genevieve Tan Shu Thung

Copyright © 2013 Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Resources
Holistic Living Annex (AUGUST 2013)

Posted by Sandhya Maarga Mission on 11:31. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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