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Medical Edge: Diabetes Dog Trained to Detect Symptoms

Updated: Monday, October 28 2013, 08:24 AM EDT
MAINEVILLE, Ohio (Liz Bonis) -- A couple from Maineville is among the first in the tri-state to get a dog that detects symptoms of diabetes.

Medical reporter Liz Bonis introduces us to Duncan in Friday’s Medical Edge.

He's not a pet, but a service dog,  who contributes to the life of Kathy Lincoln in a big way.

What Duncan is trained to do is she detects both high and low blood sugar and it's all based on smell.  Duncan is a yellow lab trained as a diabetes dog.  Years ago Kathy had tumors that developed on her pancreas.

She said, “They had to go in and remove three quarters of my pancreas, so at that point I became type one diabetic.”

Since then, she's had big swings in blood sugars she didn't feel until they hit dangerous levels.  Duncan can smell these swings and she will put a paw on her knee or wherever she can reach if Kathy is high.  If Kathy’s blood sugar is low Duncan will touch her with her nose.

The meter, which Duncan is trained to go and get, tells her how high or low but the dog can actually pick it up about twenty minutes or so before the meter tells you where you are at.  Even if Kathy is working or sleeping, Duncan doesn't miss much.

“She will paw me, she will paw me harder she will jump on me, she will bark!”

Duncan is still a puppy and in training but soon she will get some high tech help, she'll get a special phone that will help her alert other paramedics, if there is an emergency.  There will be a recording on the phone that will say the dog is dialing the number and there is a diabetic emergency at this residence.

What's Kathy looking forward to most? 

“The one thing I am really really looking forward to is she can alert me when I am driving.  Right now I don't feel comfortable.  But eventually she can alert me, I can pull over , take care of things, and get back on the road.  I'm safe and everyone around me is safe.”

It's about 20,000 dollars to train a dog.  So if you can donate to Duncan's fund or help with training other diabetes dogs it's a tax- deductible donation. Medical Edge: Diabetes Dog Trained to Detect Symptoms


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