Community Forum

Child and Pet with Epilepsy

Does anyone have a dog and a child with epilepsy?
My daughter has BRE and my golden retriever has epilepsy. I believe they "feed" off of each other, so to speak. They have them in the same time period in clusters. I've tried to find out more information, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of research.
I'm really concerned if the dog is making my child's seizures more frequent..



Hello Jewels,

I have had a few dogs with seizures.   I would not say that it is the dog making your child have them.    I have seen it being a plus to have a dog around when that has happened, they can sense when that is coming and be by the individuals side while it does go on.    That is my opinion though.    I have had seizures for 38 years and have dogs 32 of those years. 





Hi Jewels816,

There are some skeptics to the use of dogs in the assistance for patients with epilepsy. IMO, some of the extreme skeptics tend to obfuscate their own phantoms in logic when they resort to the extremes commonly labeled as "psychosomatics", with little valid & objective science as a basis. A search for "epilepsy Teddy Bear Sign" gives many examples, as some actually argue that a person with a Teddy Bear, and a claim of experiencing epileptic seizures, probably has Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES), while the Teddy Bears are being sold in the very hospital's gift shop (terse example: ).

Some of the benefits, and drawbacks, of epilepsy & dogs are at:
(the entire article use to be free & open, but not easily/fully & directly on the internet now)

As in many situations of imitative behaviours, in many training situations, it's difficult to keep the notion of who's training whom totally distinct, especially in an informal mainentance of a service relationship with an easily trained & intelligent epilepsy assistant dog. Keeping the most of psychosomatic theory out of such situations is illustrated in the trainee bragging: "Boy, do we have this guy conditioned. Every time I press the bar down he drops a pellet in." (physical page 181, pdf page 16, of: )
or, google "Boy, do we have this guy conditioned."

Many epilepsy professionals tend to confound both "chance" and purposively "trained behaviours" regarding epileptic seizures with instances of PNES. A simple example would be making motions to attract the desired positive attention/response from a beloved pet, a pet trained to give the greatest response to epileptic seizure motions. Similarly & often, patients with warning aura (simple partial seizures before cascading strong seizures) are told to safely prepare for stronger seizures, then when the stronger seizures don't sufficiently materialize, the patient will be labeled with possible PNES over the behaviour of preparing as instructed (i.e., following the doctor's orders is then taken as having a co-morbid mental disorder of PNES).


P.S.: Even with very serious Psychosomatics, the theories quickly become very convoluted, and tending to crowd out some more positively conducive practicalities. For example:
"The presence of a stuffed animal at the bedside of an adult patient should be of interest to those in psychiatric consultation. "
(then with Teddy Bears in the gift shops, many hospitals directly sell the cursed things!!!)


Although I've never had any pets that suffer from seizures, I have been brought up with animals, mainly dogs for all my 21 years. I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy when I was 12 years old and I have and can always trust my dogs, a Labrador and a Mongrel, that they will be there for me when I'm having an 'episode'. Sometimes its only because of the way they act or how close they stay to me that I know whether a seizure could be coming in the next couple days or so. I do understand what you mean when you say you think they could bring each others on but I really don't feel that's the case. I believe your dog has a strong sense of what's happening with your daughter and therefore wants to be with her and protect her it just so happens that he also suffers from epilepsy as well. I think you and your daughter are lucky to have a pet that can and will support her for as long as they are around. Its important and they really are part of the family

Hopefully this helps! 


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