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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know a better name for them than this but figured this might be the right thread to put this question. Does anyone have any experience with (training/working with) dogs formally trained to recognize medical conditions in humans? Or know someone who does? Seizures, low blood sugar, I guess even melanomas, etc. Different from service dogs for the blind, I think, in that this would be training dogs to recognize, interpret, and act on odors...or physical cues, etc....given off by people.
 

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Woody Taylor said:
I don't know a better name for them than this but figured this might be the right thread to put this question. Does anyone have any experience with (training/working with) dogs formally trained to recognize medical conditions in humans? Or know someone who does? Seizures, low blood sugar, I guess even melanomas, etc. Different from service dogs for the blind, I think, in that this would be training dogs to recognize, interpret, and act on odors...or physical cues, etc....given off by people.
Sorry -- no experience -- but here's what I have:

http://biotherapy.md.huji.ac.il/new_page_4.htm

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dsb/serviceanimals.htm#SupportDogs

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...ve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10091851&dopt=Abstract
 

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I have trained seizure alert dogs, and I was shortly involved in training cancer detection dogs. You cannot exactly TRAIN a seizure alert dog to smell a seizure coming on, because we do not yet know the chemical that triggers it, however we train the seizure alert dog to simply react when the handler has a seizure. Any dog trained as a seizure alert dog is trained like a regular services dog, except there are other behaviors that are taught (such as sitting on the person while having a seizure, dragging them away from furnaiture,etc.). We have pretend seizures to teach the dog what to do, but we don't know if the dog is going to be a seizure ALERT dog until it is actually paired with it's handler/owner. Many dogs show a sixth sense type perception, they can alert the handler of an oncoming seizure two or even three minutes before the seizure takes hold. This way, the handler can get him/her-self to a safe place. I've had one client tell me of his GSD SAD(seizure alert dog) that alerted him when he was on a busy section of I-95. After he pulled over, he did have a minor seizure. After he regained conciousness, he suddnely realized what could have happened if he had blacked out and had a seizure while driving.
As for cancer detection, we train like narcotics detection. Quite simple to train, really. The only thing is getting a medical professional to participate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to you both. I just sent you a PM, Sarah, but I realize it's probably best just to post this website here as well...

www.heavenscentpaws.com

This is a group that trains dogs to detect blood sugar highs and lows in diabetics. They either provide a dog, train your dog, or...as I just saw (had not been there in a few months)...provide materials for you to train yourself. I don't know anything about this org but they have got positive press in diabetes circles. Technology would pretty quickly make this kind of dog obsolete but there are still needs for this kind of training for our family.

When I look at the course materials, I can't figure out if they are doing anything beyond scent discrimination training (that is, training a dog to smell a person's breath to detect ketones, etc.). I can't figure out the complexity of the training. It would be something that I would potentially like to try, and bring in an experienced trainer to work with me...but I can't gauge the effectiveness of the training itself, the success rate, etc.

Lots of questions, I'll pause here, thanks in advance for reading this.

Connie, thanks for those links, as well!
 
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