Britain’s first life-saving Labrador can tell when a diabetic will collapse… with just one SNIFF

September 27, 2013 | by | 3 Comments

Meet Magic the lifesaving Labrador who is the first in Britain trained to detect when a diabetic is going to collapse – with just A SNIFF.

The trusty pet can monitor the glucose levels of owner Claire Petersfield by smelling her sweat.

Magic has been with Claire for a month and has already stopped her suffering a hypoglycemic attack several times.

Claire Pesterfield's dog Magic, who helps her detect when her glucose levels are too low

Claire Pesterfield’s dog Magic, who helps her detect when her glucose levels are too low

When the 18 month-old senses her glucose levels falling dangerously low he paws at her.

Claire then takes insulin and avoids a potential dangerous collapse which can lead to comas – and in extreme cases death.

Diabetics have no concept of their glucose levels without testing their blood and can fall unconscious without warning.

Claire, a children’s diabetes nurse at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, is so dependent on Magic she now takes him to work with her.

She said: “If Magic thinks my blood glucose levels are low he’ll put his paw onto my knee.

“If I ignore that he’ll actually be a little bit more forceful and try to get his face in front of my face.

“He makes sure my attention is drawn to him and he’s so focused on me and won’t leave me alone until I take action.”

She added: “Magic’s really important and he can save my life.

“I don’t have any awareness of low blood glucose levels, so he can actually alert me before they become too low and I become unconscious.

“I have no idea how he does it, something to do with his nose, he can smell it. But actually how, I have no idea.”

Magic was trained as a puppy with the Medical Detection Dog’s charity.

In August research by the University of Bristol found that dogs’ acute sense of smell can detect changes in the chemical composition of their owner’s sweat or breath.

A hypo, short for ‘hypoglycemia’ occurs when blood sugar, or glucose levels, fall below the average human level of four mmol/L (a tiny fraction of grams per litre).

Category: News

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I hope you mean “Claire then takes glucose” rather than “Claire then takes insulin”…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Please note – a diabetic needs sugar when their blood glucose level drops not insulin. Insulin is taken to drop the blood glucose level and should never be used when a low blood glucose level is experienced!

  3. deb says:

    too bad the writer of the article has no idea about diabetes. when the dog sniffs her LOW levels she takes SUGAR to avoid the possibility of a unconscious. otherwise great article. great dog.

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