On an Episode

This image about epilepsy in honor of a delightful young girl. She, a daughter of a long-time friend, demonstrates the joys of life that each of us want in others and should have for ourselves – and she does that in spite of the trauma of her world. Her medical journey has not been easy on her and her family, but everyone is strong and remains committed with hopes of a positive outcome – thus I wish and pray for strength and blessings to them.

Their family and friends recently participate in a walk for the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation, a group formed in memory of a 16-year old who died unexpectedly of something I never heard of – Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). (Info on the walks in Colorado and Kansas)

The cause of SUDEP is unknown, but it usually occurs at night or during sleep, and studies estimate the SUDEP rate at one death per 1,000 people with epilepsy per year. There is often evidence of a seizure before death … and that’s where the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation comes in as it provides grants for training and placing seizure-response dogs.

Below is a news report on seizure-response dogs. After watching, I recommend seeing this video tribute that the owner prevents me from embedding.

37 thoughts on “On an Episode

  1. I haven’t had personal experience with seizure detection by dogs (though I have heard of it), but I can personally attest to dogs being able to detect cancer. My mother-in-law had been in and out of the hospital with cancer for years. One time, when we were visiting, our Cattle Dog became very insistent in climbing up on her – something he NEVER did before. He kept laying his head on my MIL’s chest – so much so, she called and made an emergency appointment with her cancer doctor. The following Monday, she was in the room following some X-rays, and he asked what had made her schedule the appointment. He was quite surprised to find out it was our Dingo who made the diagnosis – and he did indeed find a recurrence of her cancer, before ANY other sign had appeared!
    Great post, Frank, something we all need to be aware of.


  2. We like to think we are the most clever beings on the planet, but the sensory experiences of other animals are beyond our comprehension. Something for us to appreciate and be thankful for.


  3. Epilepsy is such a dreadful condition. I know people can die from it but I had no idea there’s a sleep condition like SIDS. It’s amazing how dogs can be trained to be so vital to our care xx


  4. Very interesting post. I always say it’s a sad day you don’t learn something, so today isn’t a sad day because SUDEP was news to me, and the stats are quite revealing. I’m a doggie person too, so all is good. Woof, woof!


  5. A friend of mine – her sister lives in US and she has a seizure-response dogs for years now. Amazing the dog takes her to the side and if she gets a seizure he puts his head on her chest – met her when she was visting her family in UK . The stories she told me … fantastic – that there is animals that can help us when we need it most.


    • Kathy,
      I’ve got to agree with that. After all, look at all the ways dogs are trained to do. As another reader mentioned, it’s amazing what animals seem to naturally sense. I recall seeing a news report about a cat in a nursing home who (I think) would jump on the bed of a patient who was about to die. Heck, the nurses used the information! Thanks for commenting.


  6. Frank, thanks for this post — I have heard of SUDEP and even of dogs detecting seizures and cancer. As a dog lover, I am not at all surprised. Dogs sense everything.

    Thanks for raising awareness and best of luck to your friends and their daughter.


  7. It’s frightening to hear about SUDEP. I’ve never heard of it before. I have friends with epilepsy in their family, and with medications it’s well controlled, but not without side effects and other problems. Thanks for calling attention to this foundation. Impressive! Debra


  8. I was not aware of SUDP. It’s nice to hear the service dogs being able to be so helpful in this regard. I think service dogs are amazing and I’m so glad they can be helpful in this way. I would do the walk if I was in the area of Colorado or Kansas a very wonderful cause.


  9. Frank, Thank you for this post! The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation’s main goal is to raise awareness of SUDEP and you just helped them immensely.
    It’s pretty scary to have a child with a seizure disorder, but having friends like you make the journey sweeter:) Love from Al, Lorri, Audrey and Sweet Allie!


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