2-year old JJ has made medical history by becoming the first dog to act as a patient monitor at the Duke University Children’s Health Center in NC, where she watches over 7-year old Kaelyn Krawcyzk (aka KK) alongside human medical personnel and monitoring machines.
KK, who has mast cell activation disease, a rare disorder that can compromize a number of functions in just about every organ system, recently underwent a cystoscopy to check out problems with her kidneys. The disorder, caused by too may mast cells can also cause severe drops in blood pressure, as well as abdominal pains, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea,and difficulty in breathing due to ear/nose and throat inflammation. These are generally triggered whenever KK gets either too hot, too cold or too stressed out, according to her mom, Michelle.
While the machines have their purpose, it seems that JJ is far better at sensing when KK is about to have a seizure.
“We’re very excited for the fact that JJ can join us in taking care of Kaelyn, and we are very excited to see what information she can provide us,: stated Dr. Brad Taicher, assistand professor of pediatic anesthesia at Duke.
“Dogs really, really, really are very interested in humans and pay a lot of attention to us, which makes some of them very effective in being able to detect cancer as well as epileptic seizures and high/low blood sugar levels in diabetics,” noted Dr. Lawrence Myers, associate professor of animal behavior at Auburn University, a fact well-understood by Deb Cunningham, program director at Eues, Ears, Nose & Paws in Chapel Hill, a non-profit organization that provides service animals to humans. In fact, she is the one responsible for matching JJ to KK.
“JJ is the reason why we can sleep at night. She is the reason KK can have a more normal life, and that might not seem like a lot, but when you have to restrict your child from normal every day activities, the ability to do anything more is phenomenal. She truly is our little angel,” stated Michelle Kraczyk.