Getting help from man's best friend - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Getting help from man's best friend

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Gigi is a golden retriever puppy whose most notable physical characteristic is her cute face. However, in just a few months, she'll become a powerful warrior in the fight against urinary tract infections.

Gigi is part of Assistance Dogs of Hawaii. The Maui based non-profit firm recently completed a successful research study, in which its dogs successfully detected bacteria that lead to UTI's.

"For most people this might not sound like a big deal, but for people with disabilities, this is the number-one health complication, and it can be life threatening" said Assistance Dogs of Hawaii Executive Director Maureen Maurer.

The data is being formally tabulated, and the findings will be presented in a medical journal in the upcoming months. However, ADH isn't resting on its laurels. It's preparing for its next phase; practical application.

"We'll be training some of our existing service dogs to alert to UTI's to provide this service to their partners with disabilities" noted Maurer.

The training will start in a month, and will take two more to complete. That means real life help for people using service dogs is right around the corner.

"When we can catch this early, they can live their life staying out of the hospital. So this is a major additional skill that has immediate practical impact for their day to day life" said Doctor Wendi Hirsch of Kapi'olani Medical Center.

Not too bad for a cute little puppy.


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