Seizure service dogs are becoming increasingly popular as a way to give people with epilepsy who are afraid of having a seizure when alone, a greater sense of security, confidence and mobility.
A ‘seizure dog’ has been specially trained to respond once a seizure has commenced by getting help, protecting the person during the seizure, or leading the person to safety during a complex partial seizure.
What about seizure-alert dogs? These are the seizure dogs that some claim can somehow predict the onset of a seizure and alert their master well before the seizure actually occurs. Is this fact or fiction?
According to a British study published in the journal Seizure, six pre-selected dogs were successfully trained by the Support Dogs Training Centre in Sheffield England to pick up on subtle changes in their masters’ body language or behaviour 15-45 minutes before the onset of a seizure, and to provide alerting signals to warn that a seizure was about to occur.
In Canada, seizure dog trainers do not promise that the dogs they train will be able to detect seizures in advance.
A word of caution. Seizure Dogs are expensive to train and still difficult to acquire. You may need to be on a waiting list, and asked to help cover costs by fundraising.
Seizure Service Dog contacts include:
- The Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guide Training Centre, which takes people who qualify from all across Canada at no fee. Phone: (905) 842-2891 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Key Companions Service Dogs. Phone: (905) 857-9547 or e-mail: email@example.com
- West Coast Access. Phone (604) 485-6062
- The U.S. Company Paws with a Cause Phone (616) 877-7297.