My diabetes kit Claire Pesterfield




The charity Medical

Detection Dogs is an

organisation that trains

dogs to identify human

disease by odour. It

is currently undertaking a number of

pioneering research projects involving

canine olfaction, including the training

of dogs to detect cancer, blood sugar

changes, and Addison's disease.

Called biodetection, this science is still

relatively new, but trials have proven that

it is possible for dogs to identify certain

conditions due to them having a specific,

detectable odour. Dr Claire Guest, the

founder of the Medical Detection Dogs

charity, has a dog herself, Florin, who can

sniff out prostate cancer.

In addition, some of the dogs trained

by the charity are specifically trained to

be of aware of potentially life-threatening

situations, such as sniffing out hypos and

hypers in someone with diabetes. With

conditions such as diabetes, the dogs

can be tuned to a specific person and

their needs (in a room of diabetics with

low blood sugars, they are trained only to

tell their owner that their sugar is low).

Claire Pesterfield was diagnosed

with Type 1 diabetes in 1986 at the

age of 13. In her day job she is a DSN

(diabetes specialist nurse) at a hospital

in Cambridge. She currently uses a

Mechanic insulin pump and Medtronic

Enlite sensors for continuous glucose

monitoring (CGM), combined with a

Contour Next One Link blood test meter.

However, she certainly sees her medical

detection dog, Magic, as her most

invaluable piece of diabetes kit.

Pesterfield has had impaired hypo

awareness over the last 10 years, including

episodes of unconsciousness due to the

onset of undetected low blood glucose.

This was affecting her work as she took

time to recover from such episodes. "It

was a friend who showed me the Medical

Detection Dog charity, as her sister was

into showing dogs and had heard about it

in that arena," she says. She subsequently

applied for a medical detection dog in

2001 at which point she was interviewed

by the charity and a dog matched to her

needs. "Finding the right dog is key, but

so is finding the right person," she says,

"This has to be a bullet-proof relationship,

and a bullet-proof dog. It took 18 months

before I was matched with Magic."

Worth the wait

The selection and training process may

have taken some time, but once in place

it was a quick fix. Pesterfield recalls, "Just

months after being paired with Magic my

life changed completely. I have had no

episodes of unconsciousness at all since

then, and I've also gained better overall

control, although my actual awareness of

hypos has not come back as a result of

the better control, which was something

I might have hoped for. But with Magic

here to look after me, I know that I'm

going to be OK."


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  2. Accu-Chek Mobile blood glucose system
  3. Desang diabetes magazine diabetes information, Sue Marshall
  4. Desang diabetes magazine diabetes news
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  6. Page 0006
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  10. diabetes food news
  11. Ascensia Contour Diabetes blood test meters
  12. diabetes food news
  13. Abbott Freestyle Libre, Flash Glucose Monitoring, blood testing without lancets
  14. My diabetes kit Claire Pesterfield
  15. My diabetes kit Claire Pesterfield
  16. My diabetes kit Claire Pesterfield,
  17. Dr Claire Guest Medical Detection Dogs, hypo detection
  18. Medical Detection Dogs, hypo detection, hypo awareness, Type 1 diabetes
  19. Accu-Chek Mobile, Medical Detection Dogs
  20. Paul Coker, Peter Davies, diabetes
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