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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

#Diabetes - How My Dog Warns Me Of Hypos

Picture From Harvard Medical School Literature
I have had Type 1 Diabetes for Over 35 years and currently take 6 injections of various insulins per day. despite what some people and physicians may feel is a high level of insulin use, I currently have none of the life limiting complications associated with long term diabetes.  I used to think it was luck! but as a disability support assessor and assessment centre manager for 10 years I came to realise that it was not luck, I don't need a medical degree to realise that my insurance to good health has been a solid understanding of my body, its needs and my Diabetes.  I have attended many different Diabetic Clinics in local Doctors Surgeries and hospitals, but I have never been hospitalised due to my diabetes.

Please Note:

I Have Never Suffered From Diabetes

Like Any Killer, I Give It Respect And We Co-exist


The views expressed here are my own and an aid memoire to myself in how I manage my own Type 1 Diabetes,  I do not prescribe anybody do what I do and recommend they make up their own minds and control their own Diabetes.


#Diabetes - How My Dog Warns Me Of Hypos

One of my Lurcher (cross between a Greyhound and a Saluki) rescue dogs 'Bree' is very sensitive to smell and taste and I have written about her strange bathroom habits in a previous #Diabetes #Mentor blog posting:

My Dog Bree And My Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Over the last few months Bree appears to have become particularly sensitive to any low blood sugars when I am in or on the bed. 


Skippy (light) And Bree (grey)Asleep On The Bed Just Before Biscuit Time 
If I start to have a low blood sugar she stands over me and prods me to get out of or off the bed.  She is extremely persistent and will even start yelping at me if I don't move.

As soon as I move she gets up on the bed and licks where I have sweated, as Diabetics often do when the blood sugar goes low. I have been trying to understand when this began to occur and I think I have cracked the case. I may have turned Bree into a Diabetic Alert Dog by accident rather than design.

Out of guilt from eating something and not giving Bree and Skippy anything, I started to give them a small biscuit, each time I had a biscuit between meals or if I had woken in the night in a cold sweat.

Therefore what has occurred is that by Behavioural Training my dogs, and particularly Bree have associated my regular biscuits times, my hypo biscuit times and my low blood sugars with a food reward. So now when it reaches my biscuit time they come to me, If I'm asleep they wake me and if during the night I start to get a low blood sugar (which they can smell the pheromones of) they wake me to get a biscuit. In the process warning me of a low blood sugar which would otherwise have left me with an awful headache or worse.

Therefore, is you have a dog and you have diabetes, let them lick the crease in your arm when you are having a low blood sugar and give them a biscuit, also reward them when you have your regular biscuits and your dogs may just become a helpful, and happy to help as Bree is.

Please check out my other Diabetes Mentor blog posts, please be aware so contain references to adult content relating to sex and diabetes.

Malcolm

aka #fixed1tDIABETESmentor

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