Great Dane learns how to predict epileptic fits

by Darren Jamieson on October 17, 2013

They are known for their giant size, but it seems that some Great Danes are capable of a lot more than just being tall and strong.

Charlie lives with the Lynch family in County Clare and his owners believe that he can detect changes in their epileptic daughter’s behaviour 20 minutes before she suffers from a seizure.

Brianna is three years old and has been dealing with the condition since she was just three months old. If Charlie’s owners are right, this skill could help to save Brianna’s life.

Epilepsy affects approximately 50 million people worldwide and the medical condition can disturb mental and physical functions. Brianna experiences violent convulsions and traumatic seizures when she endures an epileptic episode.

When the signs of an imminent seizure are noticeable, Charlie prevents Brianna from falling by lightly pinning her against the wall. Additionally, he walks in circles around the young child to grasp the attention of her family. It is possible that the changes are detected through smells and visual signs.

Arabella Scanlan, Brianna’s mother, believes that Charlie’s instinct has helped him foster skills similar to that of a seizure alert dog. When the Great Dane first started acting differently, his owners were concerned his flustered state may result in injury to the child and considered finding him a new home. However, they soon became familiar with his behaviour and now say that he rarely leaves Brianna’s side.

Ms Scanlan explained that people are mesmerised by the dog’s behaviour when they see him in action.

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