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Family says diabetic alert dogs save sons' lives

Posted: 5:08 PM, Apr 07, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-07 17:08:45-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado family credits diabetic alert dogs for saving their sons’ lives on a daily basis.

Michael Moore, 14, and his brother, David, 9, bring their dogs Bear and Jax everywhere: Family trips, football games and even to bed. Both boys were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age. Their parents worked with the local Kiwanis Club to train the dogs to sense when the boys’ blood sugar levels are too high or too low.

“I've been a little bit down the street, a couple houses down, and he [Jax] was alerting,” said David Moore. “He was barking like crazy, so my mom came and got me, and I ended up being 39."

That number is alarmingly low. The family tries to keep the children’s blood sugar levels between 70 and 110.

"It is a constant battle trying to keep their blood sugars out of the danger zone,” said Kate Moore, the boys’  mother. “Basically, if they get too high they can go into something called DKA and go into a coma, or if they get too low, they can have seizures."

The dog will signal its owner by barking if blood sugar levels are low or pawing at the boys if levels are too high.

"We don’t exactly know what it is that they’re picking up on, honestly,” said Kate Moore. “Some people say that it’s a chemical reaction. We don’t actually know, but, we do know dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell.”

David says the dogs sense alarming blood sugar levels faster than any technology, and usually before the boys’ themselves realize something is wrong.

The number of people living with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980, according to a new global report from the World Health Organization released this week.