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Service dog for chronic migraine disorder

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
Graciella- Louisa- (Gracie)

OCD- Occupational- Companion Dog
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 31, '12 10:42am PST 
My twin brother suffers from a chronic disabling migraine disorder. This doesn't mean the occasional migraine, he has a debilitating migraine all the time with no breaks. Our just there year old Wheaten Terrier, Moxie, has been such an amazing help through his struggle. Obviously, he is unable to attend school or really even go out.
Anyway, I was thinking that Moxie would be great as his service dog. A lot of the time, the pain is so bad that he can barely breathe and he has a lot of trouble balancing during these episodes. He also cannot handle light or loud noise, so perhaps she could carry sunglasses and earplugs to bring to him when he is in too much pain to realize he needs them and get them himself. What do you guys think? Any tips or ideas? I really just want to make him able to live his life. Tips on how to train for these tasks would be appreciated too! Thank you so much in advance!
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Scooter

Work hard; Play- harder.
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 31, '12 11:28am PST 
I have chronic migraine; they started nearly 30 years ago and for the last 20 they have been chronic. My first advice is he needs to find a good neurologist who specializes in migraine. Over time, we develop brain damage which may or may not manifest in visible ways; the best way to prevent the brain damage is to find a preventative drug that works. The average chronic sufferer tries maybe 7 drugs before giving up; I've tried more than 2/3 of the list and the other 1/3 are now contra-indicated since they are in the same families as the drugs I had major reactions to.

A good neuro will also help him find abortive and rescue medications that work for him as well as develop a plan in case he needs iv meds to break the headache cycle (some of these can be done in the office or outpatient at a hospital). They will also have you identify triggers (individual/stackable, foods, etc) so that you can alter your lifestyle so as to have less headaches. Just eliminating triggering foods from the diet can cut some people's number of headache days in half.

Being a walking purse/pack animal isn't really a task; a task is the dog doing something for you that you can't do for yourself (because of the disability). In all honesty, people can carry their own medication, sunglasses, and ear plugs. I wear special sunglasses all the time when outside/away from home. I've got two pair; one that is darker and a pair that I wear indoors that most people think are regular tinted glasses. I've been doing the glasses thing since high school, way before I ever considered getting a SD.

There are things that the dog can do in-home that may help. Retrieving a bottle of water (or other drink), retrieving medication, retrieving other items (Bretta use to bring me my Ipod - I hate earplugs and have white noise and ocean sounds that can be looped),turning off lights, and hearing tasks (alerting to specific noises like the smoke detector if medications knock you loopy).

Some dogs can alert beforehand. However, not all dogs can do it (and it requires record keeping to ensure the dog is really alerting...some people think if a dog does something once or twice it's alerting) and it doesn't work if you're in an non-ending headache; the dogs that really alert are doing it in the Prodrome phase (as shown by the UF study). Even if you get a dog that alerts, it's a double edge sword; yes, it means you can take the abortive meds earlier, but it can also ramp up anxiety levels because you know it's most likely going to end up with you in pain.

If I'm reading your profile correctly, you two are @15. I'd suggest talking to your parents about finding a good neurologist. There is a list of docs at health central's migraine section. Some of them are known to assist those without insurance in getting the help they need. One of the Texas docs is considered the best in the business; he's got people flying in to see him from all across the country (cheap flights can be had if you know where to look). He, like the others, can come up with a plan that can be implemented by a more local doctor (primary or specialist).
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Graciella- Louisa- (Gracie)

OCD- Occupational- Companion Dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 10:34am PST 
Thank you for the information. We have tried literally every medical and non medical option, including things we had to go out of the country for because he is a minor, but nothing helps his pain. If a medicine could help, we would try it in a second, but we are really looking for a last resort at this point. He has also gone to headache centers around the country and been through countless of the worlds finest neurologists. For now, all we can do is keep him as comfortable as possible and try to help him do his life. So this may be the only chance he has at leading a normal life.
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Scooter

Work hard; Play- harder.
 
 
Barked: Thu Sep 6, '12 8:05pm PST 
I'll silenced for the most part, but will say this.... Docs can prescribe adult meds for minors (with the parent's consent). One of my close friend's youngest child was dx'd with a really rare (
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Baja

You're like two- sides of the- same coin
 
 
Barked: Thu Sep 6, '12 8:28pm PST 
Scooter is right that the tasks you listed are not service dog tasks. Your brother could carry his own supplies so those are not disability related tasks. Im not sure what a service dog could do to help since the migrane is ongoing. This would prevent the dog from alerting which could be a task but most dogs cannot be trained to alert as it is something the dog either does on its own or will not do. An in home helper from a program may be of help and something to look into. However I am at a loss for tasks a service dog could do out of the home to help your brother.
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Graciella- Louisa- (Gracie)

OCD- Occupational- Companion Dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 9, '12 10:00am PST 
Thank you for your responses... He also has taken adult meds. I hate to shoot down all your ideas, it really means a lot that you are trying to be helpful.
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Sir Panda

1307552
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 13, '13 11:12pm PST 
Hello I am brand new to the website! I have had chronic migraines for most of my life now. I have been known to going to the ER for severe episodes of migraines. A few months back I adopted my first dog since having childhood dogs, and recently just started puppy school with him. I had an idea that I wanted to start him in service dog training, but I did not know that migraines were part of those service dog types. This has been a blessing for me to find out. I am excited to know that my boy, Panda, can one day be my own migraine service dog. snoopy
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Scooter

Work hard; Play- harder.
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 15, '13 6:44am PST 
Panda, most of us that have them have dogs that can alert. That can't be trained/taught. Then there is the question of response tasks. The dog has to do something you cannot do for yourself; being dx'd with something doesn't necessarily mean it's disabling. For example, millions are dx'd with MIs, but less than a quarter of them meet the definition of disabled.

You should also know that only 1 out of every 100 shelter dogs generally has the health and temperament to make it through SD training.
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