Alert, comfort, and assist
Seizures can take different forms and affect people in many different ways. Seizure discharges are often referred to as electrical storms in the brain. Some people are aware of an oncoming seizure while others have no warning and the seizure starts with a loss of consciousness.
During a seizure, the person often blacks out or seems distracted and confused. Their senses are altered, and so smells, sounds, tastes, and sights might seem different. They may have a hard time talking and be unable to control their movements. Twitching and jerky movements might occur or the person could suddenly become very rigid, causing him/her to fall.
Once the seizure is over, some people recover immediately while others take minutes or hours to feel back to normal. A person might be slow to respond, seem confused, sleepy or dizzy. They might have memory loss, feel depressed, sad, upset, scared, anxious or embarrassed and frustrated. They might be bruised from a fall or impact on objects. They may be thirsty, have a headache or an urgent need to go to the bathroom.
How can a dog help with epileptic seizures?
Dogs can be taught to alert prior to a seizure and provide assistance during and after the seizure
Studies proved that dogs can be taught to detect a specific scent before a seizure. At Medical Mutts, we have contributed to the first study showing the existence of a particular scent signature released when someone has a seizure. Our findings have since been corroborated by a new study that not only confirmed our findings but also demonstrated that the smell associated with seizures is indeed released before the seizure happens. Although we can’t guarantee the alert due to personal variations between people, we’ve had an excellent success rate with our very unique training methods. The alert gives time to their person to lie down and avoid injury.
The scent released before and during a seizure is the same no matter the seizure, making it possible to teach our dogs to detect any type of epileptic seizure. That being said, the frequency of the seizures will determine if we can train a dog for you. Too frequent or not frequent enough (less than once a month) will make it harder or sometimes impossible for the dogs to do their job.
Our seizure alert dogs are will also perform different tasks during a seizure. Which task they will be taught, will depend on your individual needs and will be determined during the interview.
When the seizure happens, a seizure alert dog can be taught to:
Lie down against the person during the seizure to prevent injury and provide comfort;
Press a button to call 911 or a relative;
Get medication, food, or a drink after the seizure;
Provide comfort and companionship;
Act as a brace to help the person get up.
In addition to their skills to help with seizures, our seizure alert dogs are taught all the behaviors required to pass the Public Access Test and meet or exceed the minimum standards of training established by the International Association of Assistance Dogs Partners (IAADP). You’ll be able to safely and reliably take your service dog to work, to school, to the mall, restaurant, etc.