Well Done Poppy : Diabetes Sniffer Dog Saves Boy


Poppy, Diabetes sniffer dog saves South Ockendon (Essex) boy say parents

Thomas’s parents believe trained dog Poppy saved their son, Thomas, aged seven

(photo credit J Whiberley)

A dog trained to smell blood sugar levels saved the life of a seven-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes, his parents said.

When Thomas French, from South Ockendon in Essex, was tested by his parents, his levels seemed fine, but Poppy, a dog from Kent-based charity Hypo Hounds, knew differently.

Poppy became “frantic”, Thomas’s mother, Jennifer Whiberley, said.

The boy was rushed to hospital with plummeting levels and treated.

“Having a hypoglycaemic attack is common for Thomas as he has no hypo-awareness, which means he is unaware when his blood sugar levels are dropping dangerously low,” Ms Whiberley said.

“This is why we qualified for our diabetic alert dog, springer spaniel Poppy, who alerts us when his bloods are going high or low and need correcting.

“But when Thomas’s technology devices were telling us his levels were good, Poppy knew otherwise and acted like we have never seen her before.”

Poppy, aged two, would not leave Thomas’s side when he returned from hospital

(photo credit J Whiberley)


Thomas had just had his dinner on 1 October when the dog became “frantic”, Ms Whiberley said.

“She launched herself off the sofa at dad Jon, barking and circling him in a frantic effort to get his attention.

“Poppy is trained to alert us using her paw for Thomas to check his bloods, so we knew something was wrong when her behaviour was so insistent.”

His blood glucose levels were good, but when they tested a short while later, Thomas was “crashing dangerously” and sugary drinks did not help.

His lips were turning blue, his mother said, and he was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.

Once stable he returned home, but Ms Whiberley said Poppy, aged two, would not leave his side.

“She laid on him all day and slept. I think she was unsettled.

“The bond that they share is so strong.

“I truly believe that she has saved Thomas from going into a life-threatening diabetic coma.”

Hypo Hounds founder, Jane Pearman, said: “Our dogs continually surprise us – even though we know how smart they are… they sometimes get there before the medical devices do.”

Type 1 diabetes is a disorder in which the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. It is characterised by uncontrolled high blood glucose levels and it can be controlled by injecting insulin.

People with the condition have to monitor their blood sugar levels throughout the day.”

Words above from story here

“More about Type 1 Diabetes and Hypo Hounds

Facts about Type 1 Diabetes
Approximately 400,000 people are currently living with Type 1 Diabetes in the UK, including around 29,000 children.

In children under five, the incidence of Type 1 Diabetes is rising by 5% each year

A person with Diabetes will measure their blood glucose over 80,000 times in their life

The number of new diagnoses of Type 1 Diabetes (also known as the incidence) is increasing by about 4% each year

Around 85% of people diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes have no family history of the condition.

The UK has one of the highest rates of Type 1 Diabetes in the world


Hypo Hounds is a Diabetic Alert Assistance Dog Charity
Hypo Hounds train dogs to detect and alert to the dangerous changes their Type 1 Diabetic owner’s blood sugars.

By alerting their owners or their families to these changes in blood sugars, Hypo Hounds can help to prevent potentially life-threatening hypoglycaemic attacks.

These are known as hypos and result from low blood sugar levels.

Diabetic alert dogs can also be trained to detect potential episodes of hyperglycaemia (known as hypers) when blood sugar levels are too high.

Hypo Hounds services are focused on children, enabling them to gain independence and freedom.

We are able to help adults if they have a clinical need.”

Words above (and more information) about Hypo Hounds here

Please note that articles within this blog are provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.

All the best Jan



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