Seizure Assist,

Response, and

Alert Conditioning

Fact or Fallacy 

Before AAAD outlines our program we will spend a few short minutes clarifying our position on the descriptive terms relating to Seizure Dogs  being Assist, Response and ALERT

 

The Epilepsy Foundation of America state:

There are two types of dogs that assist patients with epilepsy.  Those that recognize and warn of an impending or ongoing seizure are called seizure alert dogs; those that remain with the person to assist with the aftermath of seizure activity " which is correct although some organisations use the wording Assist being short of assisting/ assistance which could cover all  skills and tasks that the dog does for his person

The Foundation contines

"Despite the anecdotally reported benefits of dogs for people with epilepsy, many questions remain.  While there is little disagreement that dogs can provide emotional support, the actual role they play with regard to predicting seizures is controversial.

Epilepsy Foundation’sboth America and Austrarlia Position on Seizure “Predicting” Dogs

There have been reports in the media about dogs with the uncanny ability to sense seizures before they occur. These reports are mostly anecdotal – that is, they tell of personal experiences. Little research has been done to test the existence of this ability in dogs, but a British study suggests that some dogs have this innate skill and may be trained to use it.

There are two types of dogs that assist patients with epilepsy.  Those that recognize and warn of an impending or ongoing seizure are called seizure alert dogs; those that remain with the person to assist with the aftermath of seizure activity "are which is correct although some orgaaisations use the wording Assist being short of Assistin/ assistance which could cover all tasks that the dog doesfor his person

the existence of this ability in dogs, but a British study suggests that some dogs have this innate skill and may be trained to use it.

Despite the anecdotally reported benefits of dogs for people with epilepsy, many questions remain.  While there is little disagreement that dogs can provide emotional support, the actual role they play with regard to predicting seizures is controversial.

There are two types of dogs that assist patients with epilepsy.  Those that recognize and warn of an impending or ongoing seizure are called seizure alert dogs; those that remain with the person to assist with the aftermath of seizure activity are seizure response dogs.

How are different symptoms during a seizure described?

Many different symptoms happen during a seizure. This new classification separates them simply into groups that involve movement.

For generalized onset seizures:

  • Motor symptoms may include sustained rhythmical jerking movements (clonic), muscles becoming weak or limp (atonic), muscles becoming tense or rigid (tonic), brief muscle twitching (myoclonus), or epileptic spasms (body flexes and extends repeatedly).

  • Non-motor symptoms are usually called absence seizures. These can be typical or atypical absence seizures (staring spells). Absence seizures can also have brief twitches (myoclonus) that can affect a specific part of the body or just the eyelids.

For focal onset seizures:

  • Motor symptoms may also include jerking (clonic), muscles becoming limp or weak (atonic), tense or rigid muscles (tonic), brief muscle twitching (myoclonus), or epileptic spasms. There may also be automatisms or repeated automatic movements, like clapping or rubbing of hands, lipsmacking or chewing, or running.

  • Non-motor symptoms: Examples of symptoms that don’t affect movement could be changes in sensation, emotions, thinking or cognition, autonomic functions (such as gastrointestinal sensations, waves of heat or cold, goosebumps, heart racing, etc.), or lack of movement (called behavior arrest).

For unknown onset seizures:

  • Motor seizures are described as either tonic-clonic or epileptic spasms.

  • Non-motor seizures usually include a behavior arrest. This means that movement stops – the person may just stare and not make any other movements.

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