Dogs May Be Able To Help Treat Diabetes Just By Smelling Your Breath
I'd like to think that my Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix, Chloe, is the smartest dog in the entire universe.
She knows how to comfort me (usually by licking the crap out of my face), make me laugh and protect me. When I first adopted her, I was going through a tough time and even brought her to therapy with me. All in all, she's obscenely smart (even if she doesn't get the concept of “sit” yet).
As intelligent as Chloe is, I don't think she's adept enough at helping me out if there were a REAL emergency. Like, if I was about to faint or worse.
According to a study by the University of Cambridge, there is a chemical in our breath that reflects low blood sugar if you suffer from Type 1 diabetes. Better yet, you can train your dog to detect it.
Isoprene, a chemical that shows up in high levels in our breath when we have low blood sugar, is undetectable by humans. However, dogs can smell it due to their awesome sense of smell.
Claire Pesterfield, a pediatric diabetes specialist nurse at Addenbrooke's Hospital, has Type 1 diabetes and has trained her golden lab, Magic, to notify her when her sugar levels have dropped. Magic lets her know when she's in the danger zone by jumping and putting his paws up on her shoulders.
Pesterfield explained to the University of Cambridge,
Low blood sugar is an everyday threat to me and if it falls too low — which it can do quickly — it can be very dangerous. Magic is incredible — he's not just a wonderful companion, but he's my 'nose' to warn me if I'm at risk of a hypo.
Using a pup as a breathalyzer, of sorts, is less expensive and painful than the finger prick tests current diabetes patients use.
It's also cuter.