Labrador retriever saves 7 year old from dangerous hypo
A black Labrador retriever named Jedi has shown that man’s best friend can be more dependable than even state of the art diabetes technology.
Seven years old Luke Nuttall has had type 1 diabetes since he was two. He had been sleeping peacefully beside his Mom, Dorrie when Jedi became agitated. Dorrie awoke to realize Jedi getting off and back on the bed and lying on he had got Dorrie’s attention.
Jedi is the faithful family pet with a rare skill. He can sniff out, recognize and then alert when Luke is having an episode of hypoglycemia.
Dorrie noticed Jedi bowing which is his trained sign to indicate that Luke may be hypo. Dorrie checked Luke’s continuous glucose monitor (CGM) which showed a steady 100 mg/dL, indicating a normal blood glucose level.
However, when Jedi kept his head bowed, Dorrie knew something wasn’t right so she took out Luke’s blood glucose testing kit and tested his sugar levels. The result was 57 indicating a much lower sugar level than the CGM had read and a potentially dangerous situation if Luke had been left asleep.
Had Luke’s CGM recognized his low sugar level, it would have sounded an alarm and woken Dorrie. However, as the CGM was reading high, Luke’s hypo would’ve been missed and would likely have resulted in a severe hypo occurring. A severe hypo occurs if sugar levels get dangerously low and requires immediate medical attention.
If neither spotted nor treated, a severe hypo can sometimes lead to coma. Whilst many children will wake once their blood sugar levels become very low, Dorrie states that Luke has not woken from a hypo in the last four and a half years. The fact that Jedi was able to spot the hypo when the CGM did not shows what a life saver he is.
Jedi is a trained diabetic alert service dog and Dorrie and Luke are hugely thankful that Jedi can literally sniff out hypos.
Dorrie sums up how important Jedi is for the family stating: “[We] have spent everyday of the last 3 years training Jedi to alert to highs and lows, because type 1 diabetes is relentless and we need as much help as we can get.”
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