A charity organization in the U.K. is training dogs to recognize odors that may indicate whether their owner's health is at risk.
Medical detection dogs are trained to identify any scent that could be associated with their owner's certain medical disorder. One of the charity's many success stories includes Alena Hughes and her Labrador Maisie.
The 6-year-old from Doncaster, Yorkshire was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes when she was only three. Maisie had already been the Hughes' family pet so with the help of the organization the canine was trained to detect the rising and falling of Alena's blood pressure through odors her body gives off.
If her blood pressure levels are too high, Maisie can smell it in Alena's breath. If they are too low the dog can smell it through her owner's skin. If Maisie detects a scent she will get her owner's attention and if Alena is unresponsive Maisie will find her owner's mother.
The charity also can train dogs to retrieve any medical equipment their owners may need in the event of an emergency such as EpiPens, glucose or blood testing kits.
The dogs they receive are usually donated by breeders, shelters or other charities and chosen for their own unique abilities. They go through an intense 18 month training period while they're placed in a foster home until training is complete.
Nobody better understands the importance of the service these dogs provide than Dr. Claire Guest, one of the researchers helping to develop this medical innovation.
While training her labrador, Daisy, in 2009, Guest noticed the usually tranquil dog began to act restless and refused to leave her owner alone. Dr. Guest noticed her behavior matched what she had been training her to do in the event of an emergency.
When the erratic behavior persisted Guest took the safety precaution of having herself tested for anything out of the ordinary. She was diagnosed with breast cancer early enough to have it treated and make a full recovery.
Published by Medicaldaily.com