Living with celiac disease is already hard enough. Besides having to deal with diarrhea, anemia and abdominal pain, you have to avoid even the tiniest bit of gluten like a plague. But what if you didn’t have to live on the edge all the time? What if you had a furry-friend to sniff out gluten?
For Evelyn Lapadat, a 13 year old girl diagnosed with celiac disease, ingesting wheat, barley, rye or anything with the gluten protein, could be detrimental to her health. Despite her efforts to stick to a clean diet, somehow gluten keeps popping back its head and causing havoc. However, Zeus, an amazing Australian shepherd is saving Evelyn’s life one day at a time.
Through power of nose, Zeus helps protect Evelyn by sniffing all her meals and even her hands, to detect any signs of gluten. If he smells a hint of gluten, the dog raises his paw. But if he turns his head away, the item is safe for consumption.
Evelyn, who once had to bear the painful side effects of gluten, now says that it’s been a while since she got sick, and that Zeus has brought her “big relief”. Her mom even admitted to being less of a control freak since, now that the dog does all the heavy lifting.
Gluten-sniffing dogs are still unusual, but other dogs like Zeus are being trained to detect gluten. These dogs are paired with children suffering from celiac disease to help them manage a gluten-free lifestyle. They can smell and check for gluten, in anything from shampoo to food, brought into the house.
While these dogs may not make life easier, they do make it a bit safer for gluten-sensitive individuals. With millions of undiagnosed Americans suffering from the disease, it is exciting to think about the life-changing potential that man’s best friend could bring to celiac disease sufferers.