A Little Independence and Freedom

Martin Wans
Written by
Martin Wans

No. There is no way around it. Even though the Swedish town Norberg resembles a winter wonderland that does not prevent Sofia Landström from training with Diabetes Alert Dog, Mojo. It has been six years since her eight-year-old son, Liam, was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. Thanks to Mojo, his four-legged friend and protector, Liam can lead an almost normal life.

Diabetes Alert Dog, Mojo
Diabetes Alert Dog, Mojo

The yellow Labrador retriever Mojo is now trained to recognize when blood sugar decreases rapidly. He is a lifesaving companion for Liam. Mojo has been living with the family for years, but he has now completed his training as a Service Dog. The education that the Swedish Service and Signal Dog Association offers takes between 12 and 18 month to complete and costs around 6.000 €; a sum the family couldn't raise on their own. When Bayer learned about the important work of the SoS, the decision quickly became clear that help was needed.

“The SerestoTM campaign for Mojo´s education has meant very much”, explains Elin Dahlin, certified assistant dog instructor at SoS. “We were able to plan and carry out the training in peace and quiet without having to think about the costs.”

Mojo and Liams mother

The Labrador retriever has all the features that a service dog needs. He is calm, conveys security, and he loves his family. With Mojo by his side, Liam’s family can sleep in peace knowing that Mojo will keep Liam from slipping into a coma and never waking up as a result of low blood sugar.

With an extraordinary sense of smell, Diabetes Alert Dogs have the ability to sniff out high or low blood sugar. Mojo reacts faster than the technical tools. That makes him not only to a faithful best friend, but also to a lifesaving companion for Liam.

How to train a service dog? Not all dogs can learn to warn someone before a life-threatening event becomes acute. They either have this sensitivity for an impending event or don’t. Therefore, selecting the right dog with this innate ability is crucial. Not every dog can recognize impending hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia. Diabetes Alert Dogs must be aware of it a few minutes in advance and draw their partner's attention to it. The Diabetes Alert Dog must have initiative and react to the warning signs.

Diabetes dogs have been trained since the early 2000s. Meanwhile in many countries, the rising numbers of diabetics means these valuable dogs become ever more important. But it also means that the health of these valuable dogs must be protected preventively to ensure that they can do their important work.

“Mojo is very valuable to us”, explains Liam´s mother Sofia, “and to protect him from fleas and ticks and diseases they can transmit we use the long lasting Seresto collar. It offers a real benefit to us and gives us the confidence that Mojo is well protected for a long time from fleas and ticks wherever he and Liam go.”

Mojo can help Liam to live an almost normal and independent life. And with Mojo he always has a watchful eye and a loyal companion and friend at his side.

Liam with his dog Mojo
Liam with his dog Mojo

About Diabetes

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 422 million people worldwide live with diabetes. The first WHO Global report on diabetes shows that this number has almost quadrupled since 1980. Less than 5 percent of these cases are diagnosed as Type I Diabetes. By the time Type I Diabetes is diagnosed, the body’s immune system has been completely overwhelmed and destroyed the cells responsible for producing insulin. Without insulin, the sugar that cells need to produce energy gets stuck in the bloodstream and causes high blood sugar readings. The lack of insulin causes cells to starve and can lead to sudden death if left undiagnosed. The exact cause is unknown and there is currently no cure or known prevention.

The prognosis looks bleak. If things continue as they have been since the beginning of the 2000s, 700 million people worldwide could live with diabetes in 2025.

The WHO has issued a call for action on diabetes, drawing attention to the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease.1

  • 1. Seresto® collar for cats and dogs: Two compositions: One collar for cats and dogs up to 8 kg body weight (38 cm length) and one collar for dogs over 8 kg body weight (70 cm length) contains 10 % imidacloprid and 4.5 %flumethrin as active substances; excipients: titanium dioxide and iron oxide black. Indications for use: Cats: For the treatment and prevention of flea (Ctenocephalides felis) infestation for 7 to 8 months. Protects the animal’s immediate surroundings against flea larvae development for 10 weeks. Collar can be used as part of a treatment strategy for the control of flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). The product has persistent acaricidal (killing) efficacy (Ixodes ricinus, Rhipicephalus turanicus) and repellent (anti-feeding) efficacy against tick infestations (Ixodes ricinus) for 8 months. It is effective against larvae, nymphs and adult ticks. Ticks already on the cat prior to treatment may not be killed within 48 hours after collar application and may remain attached and visible. Therefore, removal of ticks already on the cat at the time of application is recommended. The prevention of infestations with new ticks starts within 2 days after application of the collar. Apply collar before the beginning of the flea or tick season. Dogs: For the treatment (Ctenocephalides felis) and prevention of flea (Ctenocephalides felis, C. canis) infestation for 7 to 8 months. Protects the surroundings against flea larval development for 8 months. Collar can be used as part of a treatment strategy for the control of flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Persis tent acaricidal (killing) efficacy against tick infestations (Ixodes ricinus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Dermacentor reticulatus) and repellent (anti-feeding) efficacy against tick infestations (Ixodes ricinus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus) for 8 months and effective against larvae, nymphs and adult ticks. Ticks already on the dog prior to treatment may not be killed within 48 hours after collar application and may remain attached and visible. Therefore, removal of ticks already on the dog at the time of application is recommended. The prevention of infestations with new ticks starts within 2 days after application of the collar. The product provides indirect protection against transmission of the pathogens Babesia canis vogeli and Ehrlichia canis from the tick vector Rhipicephalus sanguineus, thereby reducing the risk of canine babesiosis and canine ehrlichiosis for 7 months. For treatment of biting/chewing lice (Trichodectes canis) infestation. Ideally, the collar should be applied before the beginning of the flea or tick season. Contraindications: Do not treat kittens less than 10 weeks of age. Do not treat puppies less than 7 weeks of age. Do not use in case of known hypersensitivity to the active substances or to any of the excipients. Special precautions for use: The product is water-resistant; it remains effective if the animal becomes wet. However, prolonged, intense exposure to water or extensive shampooing should be avoided as the duration of activity may be reduced. Studies show that monthly shampooing or water immersion does not significantly shorten the 8 months efficacy duration for ticks after redistribution of the active substances in the coat, whereas the product’s flea efficacy gradually decreased, starting in the 5th month. As with any veterinary medicinal products, do not allow small children to play with the collar or to put it into their mouths. Pets wearing the collar should not be allowed to sleep in the same bed as their owners, especially children. People with known sensitivity to the ingredients of the collar should avoid contact with the collar. Wash hands with cold water after fitting the collar. Adverse reactions: Occasionally slight pruritus and/or erythema may be observed in animals that are not used to wearing collars on the first few days after fitting. Ensure that the collar is not fitted too tightly. Slight hair loss and mild skin reactions may occur at the application site which usually recover within 1 to 2 weeks without the need for collar removal. In single cases, a temporary collar removal may be recommended until the symptoms have disappeared. In cats, initially, slight and transient reactions as depression, change of food intake, salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea might occur in rare cases. As in other topical applications, allergic contact dermatitis might occur in hypersensitive animals. Laboratory studies with either flumethrin or imidacloprid in rats and rabbits have not produced any effects on fertility or reproduction and showed no teratogenic or foetotoxic effects. However, the safety of the veterinary medicinal product has not been established in target animals during pregnancy and lactation, and in the absence of available data, the product is therefore not recommended in pregnant and lactating bitches or queens. No interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction are known. Due to the nature of the collar, overdosage is unlikely and signs of overdosage are not to be expected. An overdosage of five collars around the neck was investigated in adult cats and dogs for an 8-month period and in 10-week-old kittens and 7-week-old puppies for a 6-month period and no other adverse effects were observed. In the unlikely event of oral uptake of the collar, mild gastrointestinal signs (e.g., loose stool) may occur. Withdrawal period: Not applicable. Marketing authorization holder: Local Bayer affiliates.
Martin Wans
Written by
Martin Wans