To coincide with World Diabetes Day on Saturday 14th November, Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs will be highlighting the work of its specially trained Hypo Alert Dogs at London’s leading dog event, Discover Dogs at Earls Court.
The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has helped fund the training of this new type of assistance dog with a substantial donation.
Kimberly Cox and her Hypo Alert dog, a Golden Retriever called Rory, will be on the Kennel Club Charitable Trust stand at the show to demonstrate how assistance dogs like these can change lives.
Kimberly was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was nine years old. She became a dog trainer when she was 22, and three years later landed a dream job at Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs.
Kimberly started training Rory and he was soon reliably alerting her to drops in her blood sugar levels. Within five months she was able to live on her own for the first time with the reassurance that Rory would look after her.
For people living with hard to control diabetes and low awareness of changes in blood sugar level, living an independent life seems like an impossible dream. Fluctuations in blood sugar level can occur rapidly without warning and, in the case of dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), can lead to collapse and coma.
Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs founder, Claire Guest, is able to teach dogs to detect changes in blood sugar level using their noses (estimated to be 100,000 times more sensitive than our own).
These guardian angels with waggy tails have already transformed lives as they act as an early warning system for owners with no warning symptoms to their impending life threatening hypo/hyper attacks. In just over a year the charity has five fully-qualified Hypo Alert dogs and a further eight in training.
According to a 2008 report by Diabetes UK, the NHS is spending £1m an hour – that’s 10 per cent of its annual budget – on treating diabetes and its complications. For people with particularly difficult to control diabetes or low awareness, Hypo Alert dogs can prompt them to check their blood sugar levels and take action before they suffer a hypoglycaemic episode, avoiding the need for medical assistance.
Diabetes is on the rise in the UK. From 1997 to 2003 there was a 97 per cent increase in new cases, and by 2005 more than 4 per cent of the population was classed as diabetic.
Thanks to generous donations, like that made by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs is able to offer its services to diabetes sufferers who have a frequency of about three hypoglycaemic episodes a week and who have low awareness of changes in their blood sugar.
There is currently a waiting list for Hypo Alert dogs and the charity needs to keep raising funds to meet the demand for its dogs.
For more information about Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs, visit www.cancerdogs.co.uk.