The spotlight was on dogs trained to assist people who manage diabetes at the 11th European Pet Night.

Claire Guest, co-founder and chief executive of UK charity Medical Detection Dogs, was the keynote speaker at the event held in February.

Organised in Brussels by the European Federation for Animal Health (of which the National Office of Animal Health is a member) and partners, it highlighted assistance dogs trained to help people who manage severe cases of diabetes.

The dogs are taught to identify changes in odour associated with fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Dr Guest explained Medical Detection Dogs trains specialist canines in the detection of human diseases through scent and breath samples.

She explained: “Dogs play a key role in developing new approaches for the detection of life-threatening diseases. Thanks to them, we are working on a number of pioneering research projects involving canine olfaction, including the training of dogs to detect cancer, blood sugar changes, Addison’s disease and narcolepsy.”

The event, which brought together both key decision-makers and people with an interest in pets, was held under the patronage of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), including the MEP for the south-west of England Julie Girling, as well as German MEP Norbert Lins.

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