‘Lick of life’ saved Thea from coma

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A routine civic engagement turned into a pre-Christmas miracle when VIPs witnessed a DOG calmly save a young woman from potential death.

Mayor Brian White was among the guest at the local Medical Detection Dogs charity presentation day when they saw slight activity at the back of the room.

But it wasn’t until afterwards that they realised the life of a member of the audience had been saved before their very eyes – by a chocolate labrador called Echo.

Addison’s disease sufferer Thea Miller, 34, had only just been ‘matched’ with Echo, who is trained to detect medical emergencies through tiny changes in body odour.

Thea’s condition means her adrenal gland produces no cortisol, the hormone that keeps people alive.

Medical Detection Dogs co-founder, Dr Claire Guest, said: “People with Addison’s disease take the hormone artificially, but the levels fluctuate.

“If their cortisol slumps it’s an extreme emergency – they can slip into a coma and die within half an hour.”

Eighteen-month-old Echo, who had met Thea for just a few hours, started licking her hand and staring intently into her eyes.

Said Mayor Brain White: “I noticed was a little flurry in the audience.

“When I realised what a miraculous event had taken place I honestly felt it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Thea felt perfectly well when Echo’s alert began but within seconds she began to slump. Her boyfriend injected her with cortisol and within minutes she was fine.

Said Dr Guest: “Normally this would have been a life-threatening emergency involving paramedics, intensive care and possibly loss of life.

“What happened with Thea and Echo was routine for us. During the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit back in February three different owners received alerts from their dogs.”

The charity is a world leader in detection dogs. It has 40 working dogs and 25 puppies currently undergoing training to give warning of blood sugar slumps from diabetics and anaphylactic shock attacks from allergy sufferers.

They give the ‘lick and stare’ alert before the attack takes place and, if the owner does not respond, they will fetch a medication bag.

Said Brian: “As mayor I feel privileged that we have this a remarkable and life-saving charity as part of Milton Keynes. I would urge everybody to support it.”

The charity urgently needs donations, volunteers and puppy walkers to socialise pups in their own homes. For details visit www.medical detectiondogs.org.uk or call 01296 655888.