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Epilepsy Sensing Dogs

Epilepsy Sensing Dogs

You might have heard about dogs detecting explosives and narcotics. But, did you know about epilepsy sensing dogs? If not, read on...
Sonia Nair
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
We all know that dogs are among the most popular pet animals across the globe. Apart from providing a lovely companionship, these animals also guard our premises. As most of these animals can be trained very fast, dogs are commonly found doing commercials or helping the police in detecting explosives and narcotics or in tracking criminals. Of late, service dogs are also found to be used for detecting health problems in humans. It is believed that dogs may prove helpful in sensing health problems, like, heart attacks, cancer, epilepsy or diabetes. There are numerous reports of pet dogs sensing existing or impending health problems in their masters.

Seizure Alert Dogs

Epilepsy is a condition that is characterized by seizures in various forms. People with epilepsy are often advised to take precautionary and safety measures, as unexpected seizures may result in bodily harm. A companion is highly advisable for such people. Nowadays, trained dogs are being used for providing such companionship to epileptic people. It is obvious that these dogs are trained to alert others, if the patient develops seizures. There are dogs that are specially trained to bring medication, water or phone to the patient, as he regains consciousness, once the seizure subsides.

But the fascinating part is that some dogs are also claimed to be capable of detecting the impending seizure in epileptic people. While there are certain dogs that are found to have an innate ability to detect impending seizures, others are trained for the same. It is said that these epilepsy sensing dogs will try to alert their masters about the impending seizure by staying close to him/her. The dog may display actions, like, pawing, whining, circling, barking and licking.

So, it can be said that the dog must be able to sense the impending seizure and he must be caring enough to alert his master, who must have the ability to understand the dog's actions. The ability to sense a seizure may vary from one dog to another. Even the breed, age and sex of the animal may matter.

Can Dogs Sense Impending Seizures?

Dogs are found to have a keen sense of smell and hearing. But, how can they detect impending seizures? Even though, there is no conclusive evidence to prove the ability of a dog in sensing epileptic seizures, there are numerous reports suggesting the same. It was during the 1980s that researchers started studying this subject. Till date, various studies have been conducted on this subject and it is suggested that certain dogs have an inbuilt ability to sense epileptic seizures.

There are various theories regarding this ability in dogs. According to some, these dogs may be able to sense the changes in the brain waves of the patient, prior to the occurrence of seizures. Another theory is that epileptic patients may produce certain sounds or odors that are imperceptible to humans but dogs may be able to sense such odors and sounds. It is also said that epilepsy sensing dogs can detect auras that may develop in epileptic people, before an impending seizure. Whatever it may be, as of now, there is no conclusive evidence to prove the same.

To conclude, seizure sensing dogs may or may not be useful for alerting epileptic patients about impending seizures. While some people vouch for their dog's ability to detect the same, others are found to be disappointed. However, there are various organizations that indulge in training dogs to detect seizures. As these dogs come with a heavy price tag, you must take enough care to review the claims made by the trainer, before opting for such dogs. It is always better to contact a trusted organization that runs such training programs for dogs.