Service Dogs for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Patients
There are numerous definitions of service dogs, but to many, they are cherished animal companions that serve as eyes, ears, hands, or legs for assistance. Service dogs help people with various illnesses including metabolic, neurologic, or genetic problems and more. Some service dogs work in a hospital setting.
The Role of Service Dogs in EDS
Alerting and Assistance
- Service dogs can be trained to alert family members or caregivers during medical crises. For example, if an EDS patient experiences a traumatic dislocation or fainting episode, the dog can signal for help.
- They can assist with position changes, helping the patient sit or lie down safely.
- Retrieving medication or a phone call during emergencies is another critical task.
Balance and Mobility Support
- EDS patients often struggle with disturbed proprioception, balance and joint instability. Service dogs can provide physical support helping their handlers maintain stability while walking or standing.
- In this manner a service dog can brace against the handler, preventing falls.
Deep Pressure Therapy
- EDS-related pain can be intense. Service dogs can offer deep pressure therapy by leaning against their handlers, providing comfort and relief.
Locating Specific Items or Locations
- Service dogs can be trained to find specific objects (such as keys or a water bottle) or lead their handlers to a designated location (such as an exit).
Choosing a Service Dog
Some breeds are more suitable for this role but any breed of dog can be a service dog after fulfilling the conditions and receiving proper training. For more information about service dogs and regulations, I highly recommend checking ADA website .
Service dogs are not just companions; they are lifelines for EDS patients. Their unwavering support enhances independence, safety, and emotional well-being. If you are living with one of those amazing four-legged friends, please share your experiences with us in the comment section.
Author: Ozan Soyer, MD