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Measuring, and determining factors affecting performance of glycemic alert dogs – Presentation by N. Rooney, PhD

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Measuring, and determining factors affecting performance of glycemic alert dogs

Trained dogs have been reported to alert their owners to changes in their blood glucose levels, to improve glycaemic control and consequently to improve quality of life in owners with Type I diabetes. However, owner-independent assessments of dog performance and behaviour in-situ have, until recently, been lacking. In this talk, we describe a growing programme of research objectively testing the efficacy of these dogs. We conducted studies firstly using owner-reported records, from a large number of partnerships. We then used a combination of CCTV footage and simultaneous continuous glucose monitoring to derive owner-independent measures of sensitivity and positive predictive value of dogs’ responses and to identify differences in dog behaviour when their owners’ blood transition to out-of-range levels, as compared to remaining stable. We use these objective measures to identify features of dogs, owners and partnerships corresponding to differences in dog performance, and hence to direct selection optimising future performance.

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