seizure alert dogs?

Elliot Mitchell emitch at lobster.mis.udel.edu
Wed Aug 24 09:59:16 EST 1994


Q:How can canines predict seizures in their owners?

     I am a biology teacher who also volunteers with an organization that 
trains canines, usually to help people with mobility impairments.  After 
a flood of inquiries "Can you train seizure alert dogs?", we did some 
research into other organizations (only a few exist) that have had 
success. 
     Here's what I know so far:
1) Nobody knows how the dogs predict seizures.
2) Not all dogs will do this.  Very alert and sensitive dogs are the 
candidates.
3) We have now worked with two of our own dogs that we feel met the 
'sensitivity' criteria.  They have predicted seizures up to 45 minutes 
ahead of time!  
4) dogs' responses vary; some climb into their handler's lap, others 
begin to bark or whine. (Both of these are against their obedience training)
  
- How in the world can they detect (& so early) seizures?
- Have scientists and trainers ever talked about this?
 
I'm perplexed, yet convinced.  ANY help or info would be appreciated.


-- 
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    	      Elliot Mitchell, Science Department, Tower Hill School 
	2813 West 17th Street  Wilmington, Delaware 19806  (302) 575-0550
      -------------------- emitch at lobster.mis.udel.edu --------------------



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