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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, long time no talk!

I'm not sure at all if my condition would warrant a service dog, so if you don't believe it does, feel free to say so... I won't take offense. I plan to talk to a neurologist as well.

I was diagnosed with "occipital lobe migraines" when I was younger. Before this year, I haven't had one since the 7th grade (I'm now 19)... but in the past 2 months I've had them twice. This is obviously a large increase, which is why I plan to talk to a neurologist. Each and every time I've had one I've been doing something different, so there isn't a pattern or trigger that I can tell.

My symptoms have increased dramatically from when I was younger, too.
When I was younger I would lose my vision for a few seconds, and my limbs would go tingly, but I was still "aware". I remember just thinking in my head, talking to myself until it was over - it never lasted long, literally no longer than a minute and then I'd be good as gold.

Now (these past two episodes, in less than 2 months)...
Episode 1)
I was in the shower... obviously not the safest of places!
My vision started going in and out and my limbs started tingling. I crouched down in the shower trying to stabilize myself, thinking it would be over quick. It wasn't, so I wrapped myself in a towel and found myself to the toilet and sat down, calling for help. When my vision wasn't out, it was still super wonky.. it felt like I was looking through a kaleidoscope. I was still 'aware', though it was hard to stay focused. I'd feel myself "wondering away" and then come back. Although I never fully passed out, the people who stayed with me told me I was very, very pale and what I was saying didn't make sense. Once my vision started returning to normal and my limbs stopped tingling they helped me to the sofa. I had a headache and was exhausted, and just laid there for the rest of the day.

Episode 2)
Happened today.
My vision started going in and out and my limbs started tingling. I walked to a tree and leaned up against it to stabilize myself. When I was still aware I asked my boyfriend's friend to go find him for me. I could hear a group of people start calling for him, but then I started "wondering again". I could feel myself going in and out... and I guess I completely went out (fainted), because when I came to, my boyfriend was kneeling besides me (I fell to the floor). My awareness came back (I was able to speak to my boyfriend) before my vision fixed itself. I don't have a headache this time, but I am so tired from it. I am pretty spooked that I actually fainted because that's never happened before.


ANYWAYS. The whole reason I got to thinking this was because my friends GSD puppy was with me when it happened today. Before I started feeling weird she started whining for no apparent reason. Then once I started feeling the symptoms creep on me she started getting more antsy. The last thing I remember (keep in mind, I fainted) was her barking loudly.

I really feel like she knew that there was something wrong before I did, and then she was trying to get me help.... and after it happened, for a good long time for her (she is an energetic puppy), she just sat with me laying on my feet. It's almost like she didn't want me to get up (I assume, because when I do get up after a spell I get really dizzy, and sometimes my vision goes out again for a few seconds)


The truth is, I don't need any medical help for this issue. It kind of just runs its course and is over within a few minutes-hours (depending on how bad I feel after I come to completely). But if it happens when I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time... Well, something bad could happen. But maybe I'm just spooked and it's not that big of a deal. I just think it would be so helpful to have something alert me that something isn't right, so I could make sure I'm in a safe place with the right people (/ I can explain to someone before it happens) before the problems occur.

I mean I haven't been in the safest of situations when these episodes occur. The time before today, I was in the shower. I easily could have slipped and hurt something. Or what if I'm driving? Or in class - and everyone sees but no one knows what to do?

Is this crazy? Am I just spooked by what happened today? It was by far the worst I've ever had, so that's definitely a possibility that I'm over thinking possible options.
 

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I'd have a very long talk with your doctor first. There are over 100 medications for migraines, I find it hard to believe none would help at all. Plus, the sudden increase in frequency needs to be explored prior to anything else.

As for a service dog, 3 things:

1. Finding a dog who can sense them in advance, not all dogs can.

2. Caring for the dog. Service dogs need exercise, food, vet care, etc., just like any other dog.

3. Service dogs have to do 3 tasks related to your disability to qualify as service dogs. What 3 things should your dog do for you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh I'll definitely be talking it over with a doctor! Dog or not, I'd need to have a discussion about the increase of occurance + the more drastic symptoms.

I would not want to be put on medication though, if avoidable. I don't need medical attention when this happens. I just need to be in a safe place to let it run its course. It may sound crazy but I'd rather do that than take medication if possible... There are so many crazy side affects and risks with medication that it just isn't always worth it in some cases.

I'm not sure if I'd need a service dog per say, but I've read briefly of medical alert dogs... Used a lot for seizures and diabetes. I'm thinking I'd have a dog like that, if at all. The three things I've read them doing is 1) notifying owner 2) getting help of possible 3) remaining calmly with owner after getting help/if help isn't available. I'm not sure if that counts as the three things or not though.
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Oh, wow. Kind of OT, but does your doc think that the "tingly" feeling in your limbs is due to the migraine or panic you're feeling associated with the migraine? I only ask because I have had migraines for 13 years, but a few years back I had one (the only time I have, thank goodness!) that sounds exactly like what you're describing -- zigzags in my vision that quickly led to temporary blindness and then that kaleidoscope thing, tingly limbs (that they told me was due to panic), and inability to speak correctly - I was aware I was doing it, but I wasn't able to make myself say the right words no matter how hard I tried. And, of course, blinding pain. I ended up in the hospital with that one. :/

Anyway, I digress. But I totally sympathize - I don't ever want another headache like that again! Do get checked by a neuro, better safe than sorry. I know how you feel too about medications - some work great, others don't, and even more have weird side effects. I don't like to take my meds unless I really have to, unless the pain is really uncontrollable. BUT it's not beyond exploring, or at least having the conversation about what's available and what preventative medications could do. No harm in having the info :)

I don't think your idea is a bad one, but you would have to go through the trouble of finding one that could actually sense what was coming. Do you know of anyone who has a seizure alert dog? Does your doctor have any advice?

I don't know much about service animals, so sorry I'm not terribly helpful. I just felt I should leave a message of support since I know how nasty migraines can be. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm so happy to talk to someone's whose gone through what I have! I explain it and it's like so many people don't believe it can be "that bad" >.>

They're sure it's the migraine though. Tingling of limbs, or heaviness or numbness of limbs is pretty common in occipital lobe migraines with aura.

I don't know anyone with a seizure alert dog! Or anybody with any type of service dog to be honest. I just truly feel like Nala sensed what was going on, so I bet there are other dogs who could do it too. I haven't talked to my doctor yet, I just had the idea because of how Nala reacted. I will be bringing it up with him though.
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That's interesting. The whole experience can be very scary, and I can see why you'd want a warning!

My suggestion to talk to your doctor was that if he knew anyone with a dog like that, he could potentially find out the next person for you to talk to to see if you could find one. He may also know more about the qualifications for a service dog in you area (which admittedly, I don't know much about).

I think it would be similar to a seizure alert dog and the functions would be basically the same, so as long as you can find an actual dog capable of doing this, I don't see what the problem would be. Clearly your problem is more incapacitating than "just pain" (ha) so it's more serious than "just a painful headache" (again, ha) and I can see why the alert is needed, similar to a seizure alert.
 

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This sounds rather similar to my one problem that isn't psychological. I don't have a migraine problem, but I do have some type of seemingly-neurological disorder. For over ten years, I've had what I can only describe as absent seizures. I go into a state of dissociation where I am aware of everything around me, but I'm not otherwise "there". Sometimes I simply cannot move other times my body continues on autopilot from muscle memory of the task at hand. I have collapsed, fallen down stairs, and even stopped being able to move in the middle of a crosswalk on a busy main road.

More recently (within the past few years) I started to get ocular migraines that I now associate as being an aura for particularly bad absent episodes. It basically feels like an ice pick trying to pry away part of my skull (always my right temple) and my left eye progressively goes completely blind. In the beginning it lasted for about an hour, which I've read is normal. My most recent OM lasted for a total of FIVE hours, and that was absolutely excruciating. I am also "in the market" as it were for a service dog to help me. If I can end up with one who is able to detect beforehand, that would be great, but I can live with it if the dog cannot. The dog can still be trained to stabilize me, keep me safe if I do fall, or even alert people around by barking for help if needed (among other things I need for my psychological issues).

Now where to start? Discuss the progression of your illness with your doctors. Only they can make the call on whether or not your are legally considered disabled from it. You can bring up the possibility of a migraine detection service animal. Yes, there are medications for a lot of things but they don't always work for some people (myself included; the only pain killers that work with my body are heavy things like Vicodin and Morphine, which sucks when I have a bad pain and all I can take is a Tylenol which doesn't even make a dent).

Once your doctor tells you that your migraines are a disability and they agree that you could benefit from a service dog, then they can write you a "prescription" more or less. With that, you can find one of many service dog training organizations. They may have a dog already that can help you, but more likely you will have to have one trained to suit your particular needs. Typically, training a service dog takes up to two years and costs anywhere from $10,000-20,000. Afterwards, the organization can direct you to the proper place to acquire gear such as vests and whatnot. If you already have a dog that you want to be a service dog, it will have to be evaluated before it can be trained.

Once that is all said and done, it's all said and done.

Things to look out for include certification and registry websites. They're all fake and exist solely to take peoples' money. You can register anything as a "service dog" on these website, including inanimate object like umbrellas. It offers no protection and is, quite frankly, disgusting and detrimental to real service dogs and their handlers.

Your dog does not require a vest or identifying gear of any kind, however I will likely always use it just to avoid unnecessary confrontation (though people will still come up and ask questions). It is a good idea to carry around copies of ADA information and state laws regarding service animals just in case (as well as even a note from your doctor if possible). Individual people/civilians will likely try to play 20 questions with you. Businesses, on the other hand, are only allowed to ask two questions: if the dog is a service dog and what tasks/work the dog performs. You absolutely do not have to go into detail on exactly what the dog does. You can simply say that the dog performs tasks to mitigate your disability. Nobody can ask/force you to display any of the tasks. Some places are very misinformed and may even ask for identification or registration information. At that point you could show them your handy legal information handouts and inform them that there is no service dog registration.

Good luck to you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the input Larkspur!

10-20k is quite a bit, though! Is there any way to get financial help for that, if it's decided that one would be beneficial? I assume insurance wouldn't cover it...
 

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I would also suggest speaking with your Dr. First.

I am also a migraine sufferer. I had them really bad in High School, then got them under control, but recently have started suffering from them again. I have a few different symptoms (I don't pass out, I throw up instead) but I do get the vision problems. I was told when I ended up in the hospital with one that what I experienced is called a Migraine with Aura. Terrifying. Nothing quite like looking down and feeling like I can see my fingers moving but feeling like they aren't attached to my body. I also go very white. A lot of people who have seen me in the midst of one (Cause they seem to like to happen at work) say that I am very white and I do not look right. My voice also changes, which is weird.

Honestly, mine seem to be hormonal. BC helped stop them for many years, but recently have been struggling with other side affects of it and got pulled off and that I when they started happening often. I think I get mine once every 4-6 months. Which isn't too bad.
 

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You mention driving. Please consider the safety of others and speak to your doctor soon about medications.

A service dog does not have to provide three different tasks for their owner. @amaryllis, where is this info located? I've heard that before but have yet to see it on the ADA site. Perhaps this applies to a country other than the United States? A dog is considered a service animal if it alerts the owner to the onset of a seizure, drop in blood sugar, reminds the person to take needed medication, etc.
 

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I think you could get one, I mean it affects your vision and balance so I would believe that a service dog/alert dog would be a good option...
 

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@amaryllis @Grabby - There is much debate on the number of tasks a dog must perform. The ADA does not, in fact, specify a particular number of tasks a service dog should be able to perform. Nothing is concrete, however three seems to be a general guideline with most people and it's what I will go by as a minimum to avoid any confrontation regarding the subject.
@Jenibelle - It is very pricey. I am not entirely aware of what help you can get for that, though I have heard of fundraisers for service dogs/training. There is also the possible option of training the dog yourself, but then it can get dicey. You may not know how to train the tasks you need and some jurisdictions don't even recognize certain types of service dogs (such as owner/handler-trained or SDs for autism). You can likely get most legal information you need by calling the Department of Justice
 

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WOW! To the OP, I agree with another poster about the serious possible consequences of driving with your condition! I know you don't want to see this, but it really could be a serious situation. How would you feel should you cause an accident that killed someone, or a whole family?
OK, I'll get off my soapbox here, and back on topic. Well, actually, in a minute. I assume that you have been working with a doctor over this? If not, you need to get with a good one right away!
From what I'm seeing here, I'd say a service dog might be a very good help to you. In this case, Google is your friend! Do a Google for "Seizure Dogs." I just did it myself and got a bunch of hits. Service dogs are quite fantastic animals. And I do believe there are options as to the cost of them.
I know it is a lot of money, and no matter what kind of help you get with it, it will likely still be a health chunk of change out of your pocket. But how much is your safety worth?
Good luck with this!
 

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Have you been checked for hypoglycemia? Your symptoms sound much like mine. I have a service dog that I trained myself for this condition. Pearl is basically a diabetic alert dog although I am lucky enough that my sugar has never been high. It can drop low enough to put me into a coma. I was diagnosed at 22 and I am now nearly 66. There is a lot of information on the internet and on youtube about how to train your own dog and how to choose the "right" dog. Pearl was 4 years old when I trained her. According to ADA rules a dog has to mitigate (relieve) your disability. Most have told me that the dog should do that in two ways. Don't really know if the two ways is opinion or fact and it really doesn't matter to me. Pearl will lick my lips to check either on her own or on command when I say, "check me". She will also retrieve a small package of hard candy from the edge of the coffee table and claw at my arm until I take it if she determines that my sugar is low. I sleep on the couch and she will check me several times throughout the night. She has always alerted early enough that I don't get to the passing out stage. I also think I should mention that Pearl is a 4 lb. Chihuahua that I rescued when she was a year old. She has quite a story.
 

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@manydogz - Hypoglycemia isn't a disease or disorder, let alone a disability. It is a state of being directly affected by diet. Literally every human can and will be hypoglycemic at some point in their lives. The severity of the attack obviously depends on how low your blood sugar drops. If you let it drop too far you can have seizures, faint, or even exhibit signs of being mentally insane (my mother was almost committed to an asylum when she had a particularly bad hypoglycemic episode because they thought she was crazy, but she just needed to up her sugar). People with poor dietary habits can have longer periods of being hypoglycemic, which increases the chances of having any of the severe effects and symptoms. Diabetes is a disease, hypoglycemia is not. I don't know what idiot doctor would suggest a service dog for hypoglycemia when you can easily know an attack is coming on because of dizziness and fatigue and just keep something with natural sugars on you at all times.

A service dog has to perform tasks that you can't do on your own. Dogs can sense sugar changes (usually through smell), but a meter can tell you exactly what your level is (though I do admit u hate the idea of being poked all the time). You did not mention any disabilities that make you unable to move or pick things up. If you are otherwise physically able to grab the candy off the table (bad choice for hypoglycemia anyway as things like candies often cause a crash later) then the dog is not mitigating a disability.
 

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Hello,
Your symptoms sound exactly like mine, but I dont have migranes. I have a low blood pressure and sometimes simply pass out because of it. It is especially bad when i am standing up for a long time or its hot like in a shower or i am dehydrated, like first thing in the morning.
Limbs gt tingly, vision goes, my pulse races, mouth gets dry etc. and i am absolutly useless afterwards for a while wih headache, feeling weak and sick.

Not wanting to say that yours are not migranes, but just wanted to hrow it out there.

A friend of mine had seizures and dogs. They werent service dogs as such, it wasnt their purpose, they were family pets. But one of them could sense them coming and would not leave her side. They were rottweilers.
 

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Hello, my name is William I train service dogs in the state of Colorado for free.
Now with the introduction out of the way. Bad news is ,as long as it is described by a doctor as a life limiting disability that is permanent(or to the effect of those words) then you qualify for the use of a service dog under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Basically if you qualify for Social Security Disability or Service Connected Disability then you are 100% qualified for a service dog.

From what you have entered into this forum (here comes the good news) you will be looking into mobility assistance tasks and alert and response tasks which are easier to train then some of the other tasks and could be done by you (this requires a lot of time and patients on your part. It takes me anywhere from 2 weeks to almost 2 months time train per task depending on the complication of steps for the task. Its still easier than potty training). Not every dog can become a service dog. My wash out rate is about 1 out of 8 pups will prequalify then 1 out of 15 will have the personality and drive to do all tasks it is assigned to do accurately. Bottom line is it takes a special dog to be a good service dog.

Tasks could include but are not limited to:
Stabilizing partner during dizzy spells until they pass (requires large breed to do this).

Hitting a dog alert button to speed dial your choice of contact 911 or family to respond to a black out or fall emergency when this happens at home.

The dog getting help by approaching a stranger or a friend in a public setting and having them open its side pouch with care information and contact info for your care.

Reminding you of time to take medications and to fetch a bottle of water to take your meds with.

Providing tactile stimulation by licking you to bring you out of a daze.


These are but a few tasks you can train your service dog to do. There are some organizations such as Paws with a Cause ( https://www.pawswithacause.org) that do this for free, but they usually have 3+ year waiting lists.

It seems your dizziness, blurred vision, lose of consciousness, do limit your life in some ways but it will still take a doctor to seal the deal on life altering permanent disabilities documentation that any service dog organization and ADA require.

Pm me if you need any help.

Oh and Gabby, I remember seeing the 3 tasks also, but I just went over newest ADA revisions and laws. I never saw it. It may have been in pre 2010 ADA. An allergy alert dog usually only has 1-2 tasks. Identifying if allergen is present and carrying an Epipen and getting help incase partner is unable to administer to his/her self.
 
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