Nov 072002
Authors: Cara Mason

Dogs can be human’s companions, helpers, play mates and even more importantly they can assist people with disabilities, specifically seizure alert dogs.

A seizure alert dog warns a person when they are going to have a seizure. People are unsure of the how a dog knows when a person is going to have a seizure; however people assume the dog senses a change in one’s body chemistry.

Kimberly Davis, biochemistry major, benefits form these alert dogs.

Davis has a seizure disorder and is also a brital diabetic. Starting at the age of eight, Davis began to have diabetic induced seizures. As her blood sugar level would decline to a very low level a seizure would occur. The seizures Davis would have are known as Gran Mal Diabetic seizures.

Unfortunately, these seizures are very intense. During a Gran Mal Diabetic Seizure a person will fall to the ground and start shaking violently. This kind of seizure can induce brain damage.

In the past year and a half Davis began to also experience Absence Seizures. During an Absence Seizure the person will become limp and stare off into space.

About five years ago, Davis decided that in order to be able to live an active, free life she needed to be able to go to a safe place or even try to prevent her seizures from occurring. That is when seizure alert dogs came into play for Davis.

Recently Davis started to coach Rianna, a white German Shepard puppy. Rianna is trained to start whimpering, pawing at the leg and licking when she can sense something is wrong with her owner, Davis. Davis then checks her blood glucose monitor to check if her blood glucose level is low. If her blood glucose level is low Davis knows to eat something in order to bring her blood glucose level back to normal and prevent a diabetic induced seizure. However, if the monitor shows a normal blood glucose level then Davis knows the seizure is due to other factors such as an increase in stress level. Davis will go to a safe place and lie down in order to prevent herself from getting hurt during the seizure. Davis can now live her life without uncertainty of when a seizure might occur.

As Davis sits there and plays with her dog, she knows how beneficial Rianna is to her life.

“Rianna has allowed me to have more freedom and live an active, fulfilled life.”

Edited by Shandra Jordan and Colleen Buhrer

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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