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Elderly whippet who owner calls 'The Shadow' saves her life after smelling diabetes attack on breath

Mirror logo Mirror 16/02/2017 Lucy Clarke-Billings

Credits: ITV © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: ITV A loyal elderly dog saved the life of her owner when she smelled a diabetes attack on her breath.

Amy Wilton, from Hampshire, has type 1 diabetes and appeared alongside her beloved Whippet Holly on a moving episode of the ITV show Secret Life of Dogs on Tuesday night.

The 13-year-old rescue dog , who Amy calls her "shadow", uses her amazing sense of smell to look out for warning signs.

A drop in blood sugar levels is life-threating for Amy and she needs to be alerted when the chemical makeup of the breath changes.

One night, when Amy was sleeping and had no idea she was in danger, an anxious Holly raised the alarm.

Amy said: “She jumped up on my bed and started snuffling at my face and pestering at me. She wouldn’t let up and I kind of thought ‘that is a bit odd’.

“And then I was standing there thinking ‘I don’t feel so well, this is more than just me feeling sleepy’. So I thought I’d better do a blood test. And I was low.”

Low blood sugar levels can be a killer if left unnoticed in type 1 diabetes sufferers.

Dogs have a naturally heightened sense of smell which in Holly's case, includes sensitivity to the fruity smelling ketones a person’s body produces when they are experiencing a hyperglycemic episode when blood sugar is too high, or the unique scent a person gives off during a hypoglycemic episode when blood sugar is too low.

Credits: ITV © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: ITV “She knew that there was something wrong and that she needed to tell me about it," Amy said. "I’d seen the devastating complications that can occur when your blood sugars aren’t controlled.

"It is life-threatening so I have always tried to take care of myself. Holly can tell before I feel any symptoms whatsoever, which is amazing. She beats the machines.

“I’ve lost count of the amount of times she’s woken me up in the night. She’s definitely a life-saver.

“She is my shadow. She is literally everywhere I go. She is a once in a lifetime dog.”


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