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January 16, 2002

Community Resources

Question from Cottageville, South Carolina, USA:

My seven year old son, who has had diabetes since he was three, has developed anti-insulin antibodies, and has had many episodes of nighttime hypoglycemia, including having seizures. I am checking blood sugars every 2-4 hours during the night, and it is getting very difficult. Our son's endocrinologist has told us not to do this, but it is difficult not to, when you wake up with your child in a seizure. I have been told that there are dogs that can be trained to pick up on these episodes, and they notify the parents. Are you aware of these dogs? Where could I find one?


I am not aware of dogs that sense diabetic seizures, but I’ve seen dogs that are trained to sense epileptic seizures on a national new program. Dogs are being used to assist people with other kinds of disabilities as well. Contact your local Guide Dog agency to find out more.


[Editor’s comment: See UF researchers investigate phenomenon of seizure-alert dogs, Canine Partners For Life, Epilepsy Circle of Support, and All About Seizure Dogs.

It seems however, that your son’s treatment plan needs to be adjusted in a way that will prevent these episodes. First of all I would ask your son’s endocrinologist about using the The Continuous Glucose Monitoring System for several days to try to sort out what’s happening in more detail. Secondly, it appears that your son needs some type of basal/bolus insulin regimen or perhaps an insulin pump. Please discuss these options with your son’s diabetes team.