Homes needed for lifesaving dogs

Jack, one of the puppies being fostered by Medical Detection Dogs
Jack, one of the puppies being fostered by Medical Detection Dogs
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HOMES are needed for puppies being trained to detect cancer and monitor blood sugar levels.

The Medical Detection Dogs charity is looking for people to take on a puppy for 12 to 14 months.

The charity trains dogs to monitor and detect illnesses and health problems. They can be trained to detect bladder cancer and can also monitor blood sugar levels of diabetics.

Dog trainer and behaviourist at the charity, Catherine Burniston, said: “We are looking for people to look after puppies for 12 to 14 months, get them used to being well behaved in public and help them with training.

“The dogs need to visit lots of different environments and be taken to puppy training classes locally.”

The dogs can be lifesavers for people with Type 1 diabetes, who receive no warning of dangerously low blood sugar and can simply collapse into a coma.

The only sure prevention was to take regular blood tests to check the sugar level, but the charity has managed to train dogs to detect changes in the person’s smell which indicate when their blood sugar is dropping dangerously low.

These dogs live with the person and become their monitoring system. They can also detect and warn of high blood sugar, which, if left uncontrolled, causes chronic and debilitating health problems.

More than 20 dogs are now operating in the UK and others are being trained.

The charity also trains dogs to detect bladder cancer by sensing changes in the odour of a person’s urine. The discovery that dogs had such an ability was first published by scientists in the British Medical Journal in 2004.

Catherine added: “This unknown finding indicated the potential for a new method of diagnosing cancer which would be simple, quick and non-invasive. They hope to identify the volatiles that the dogs are sniffing in co-operation with scientists to help in the development of an “electronic nose” and the charity is planning a further study looking at prostate cancer.”

Dogs can detect other debilitating conditions such as severe pain seizures, Addison’s Disease and life-threatening allergies. They warn their owners when they sense a change, bring vital medical supplies and get assistance if required.

If you can foster a puppy visit or contact Catherine Burniston at or call 07759 345861.