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Dog Detective Sniffs Out Gluten


Dogs can be trained to sniff out gluten. Unidentified Beauceron. Photo: CC-miluz

02/01/2011 - Imagine having a dog that was specially-trained to sniff out even the tiniest amounts of gluten in food and warn you ahead of time. There are scores of people with celiac disease severe enough that the slightest trace of gluten can make them painfully ill. Hollie Scott is one of them. Scott is a University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine student is also lucky to have her dog Elias is a champion Beauceron and a gluten-detecter extraordinaire. The handsome Beauceron comes from a 400-year-old breed that became almost extinct serving as messenger dogs in Europe during two world wars. Even though he is just only 2 years old, Elias is the first male Beauceron to receive the title AKC Grand Champion. His full title is: GCH CH Elias Mes Yeux Vigilants RN. But Elias' regular job is working as a gluten-detection service dog for his twenty-two year old owner, Scott, a first-year student in the program.

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To become so accomplished at gluten-detection, Elias spent weeks in Slovenia undergoing intense gluten-detection training, and now he can detect and warn her away from anything containing gluten, hot or cold, in all its many forms. Teaching a dog to be alert to the scent of gluten is more challenging than other scent-detection training, precisely because gluten comes in so many forms. When it's time for Elias to do the sniff test for Scott, she places a cover with holes over the item, and the dog takes a sniff. If Elias smells gluten, he tries to pull the item away from her; if it's safe, he just looks away. To help Elias keep his edge, Scott tests him daily with known gluten-containing foods, and adds in products she hopes are gluten-free.

Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease about two years ago after spending much time "in and out of hospitals" She's now acutely vigilant about checking labels and trying to avoid cross-contamination. "You can't drop your guard for even a minute," says Scott, who likens an attack to "a really extremely bad case of stomach flu" from which her body doesn't recover fully for nearly three weeks. That's where Elias works like a charm.

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7 Responses:

 
Angie Halten
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
01 Feb 2011 10:29:16 AM PDT
Cool story! Would have never thought a dog could sniff out gluten. I need to get me one of those dogs! Or maybe find a way to train my dog to do that!

Angie.

 
Halle
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said this on
07 Feb 2011 11:39:47 AM PDT
How cool! I have a scent hound... I need to send her to that gluten-detection training in Slovenia!

 
Jen
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said this on
07 Feb 2011 12:25:35 PM PDT
Awesome! I want one too!

 
Anne
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said this on
07 Feb 2011 2:14:32 PM PDT
DOGS ARE SO AWESOME

 
DIANE
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said this on
07 Feb 2011 3:55:00 PM PDT
TRULY AMAZING! JUST LOVE READING YOUR DIVERSE REPERTOIRE OF STORIES! THANK YOU!

 
fuschiacat
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
07 Feb 2011 5:55:43 PM PDT
Where do you get a dog like this? I would like to have one.

 
val
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
15 Feb 2011 1:13:07 PM PDT
I love my dogs but they do tend to drool...rather avoid the food altogether over eating gluten-free dog drooled food!




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you're lucky you dont catch colds. im the opposite i catch everything very easily and get alot sicker than whoever i caught it from and take much longer to get better.

Even one positive can be diagnostic. This is one: Gliadin deamidated peptide IgG 33.9. If unsure, a biopsy of the small intestine will provide definite confirmation. There is a control test to validate the other ones, but I don't see it there. What is does is validate the others by checking on the overall antibody levels. But it is to detect possible false negatives. A positive is a positive. I think your daughter has joined our club.

My daughter, almost 7 years old, recently had a lot of blood work done, her Dr is out of the office, but another Dr in the practice said everything looked normal. I'm waiting for her Dr to come back and see what she thinks. I'm concerned because there is one abnormal result and I can't find info to tell me if just that one test being abnormal means anything. The reason for the blood work is mainly because of her poor growth, though she does have some other symptoms. IgA 133 mg/dl Reference range 33-200 CRP <2.9 same as reference range Gliadin Deamidated Peptide IgA .4 Reference range <=14.9 Gliadin deamidated peptide IgG 33.9 Reference range <=14.9 TTG IgA .5 Reference range <=14.9 TTG IgG <.8 Reference range <=14.9

Just watch out. I just went to the expo in Schaumburg, IL, and ended up getting glutened. I realized afterward that I ate all these samples thinking they were gluten free, and they weren't. One company was advertising some sugar, and had made some cake, but then I realized.... How do I know if this contains any other ingredients that might have gluten? Did they make it with a blender or utensils that had gluten contamination? Makes me realize the only safe things would be packaged giveaways with gluten free labeling. My fault for not thinking things through. It was just too exciting thinking i could try it all and enjoy without worry.

No fasting required for a celiac blood test unless they were checking your blood glucose levels during the same blood draw.