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Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #1
Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
Some of you may have figured it out but I have to come out of the closet. I'm....I'm a wheelchair user. Yes, I know, it's a shock. No, I didn't choose to use a wheelchair, it is part of who I am. I was born this way, I just didn't know it until I was 25. The first time I was with a wheelchair, I loved it, and I knew it was going to be part of my life.

You can stop laughing now.

Anyway, I have had one service dog (Joella) that I trained and had for 12 yrs. She died this past December. Several years prior, I had gotten another dog (Mike) to train to "replace" her. His training was slow while she was around (she looked so freakin' sad!) but once she died, he and I picked up the training as a way to take care of each other. He's great and far too smart.

Back in May, I woke up suddenly, felt like crap. My heart was racing. I opened my eyes to see Mike sitting at my head, staring down at me. His paw was on my shoulder. I rolled off my back, patted his head, laid there until my heart slowed down and I went back to sleep. He laid next to me the entire time. He's not a cuddle puppy so this was unusual. But I felt so bad, I didn't really think about it until later. I checked the data later and I had a series of really long OAs, three of them, spread out over less than a minute. This happened again a few nights later and again, the data had several longer than usual OAs in a row. It has not happened since. I don't know if it was at the same time as him waking me or not.

Going with the idea that it was at the same time, my thinking is the strange noises and my body movements must have worried him and he woke me up. It got me wondering if I could train him to wake me when I am snoring or moving around a lot. I have really great twitches as I sleep that have dropped significantly since using CPAP. But I still have them at times. I once kicked Joella (an 85lb Rottweiler) up and over the 6" footboard. So, yeah, I twitch in my sleep.

There's no way a SD can replace a CPAP because the dog has to sleep at some point. However, just going with the thought process, it would be interesting to see if one could be trained to wake the person up if certain signals were given. Such as excessive snoring or body movement. The dog could also be trained to wake the person when there's a lot of air sounds such as the mask being removed.

This would not make a dog eligible to be out in the public where dogs are not allowed. Since the task is strictly for sleeping, it would not be needed anywhere else. The dog could, however, be used as needed for housing purposes under the Fair Housing Act.

Thoughts?

I put this in Off Topic because it is more about dog training than sleep apnea.

PaulaO2
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
07-16-2013 05:00 PM
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RonWessels Offline

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Post: #2
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
Firstly:

(07-16-2013 05:00 PM)PaulaO2 Wrote:  Some of you may have figured it out but I have to come out of the closet. I'm....I'm a wheelchair user. Yes, I know, it's a shock. No, I didn't choose to use a wheelchair, it is part of who I am. I was born this way, I just didn't know it until I was 25. The first time I was with a wheelchair, I loved it, and I knew it was going to be part of my life.

You can stop laughing now.

I'm very confused. I am slightly confused at how you could be born needing a wheelchair but only know it at 25, but that's not important. I'm quite confused at why you consider this "coming out of the closet", and totally confused at why you would think we would be laughing.

I guess I could "come out of the closet" too. I have arthritis in my right ankle from a car accident some 25 years ago. It often acts up sufficiently that I need a cane to walk, and I keep a set of crutches in the bedroom in case it's really bad and I have to go to the washroom during the night. Um, you can stop laughing now?


Going on to your question, I think the point may be moot. The point of CPAP therapy is to "eliminate" the apnea events so that you can sleep deeply. Being woken up when apnea events occur just means that you don't get a good nights sleep, just like what normally happens when you get apnea events as you sleep.

But perhaps I'm missing something here.
(This post was last modified: 07-16-2013 05:20 PM by RonWessels.)
07-16-2013 05:17 PM
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Paptillian Offline

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Post: #3
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
Personally, I'd point someone to a Bilevel/ASV machine first before considering a watchdog, but it never hurts to have a lifeline buddy. Dogs have been known to sense distress and illness in humans. Ron has a good point about fragmented sleep.

Quote:This would not make a dog eligible to be out in the public where dogs are not allowed.

Pardon my ignorance (not a dog owner) but why aren't they allowed in public? I've seen Dog Whisperer... I know what happens when you turn a dog into a shut-in! Laugh-a-lot
07-16-2013 05:45 PM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
Sigh. My humor was lost in translation. That's okay, I'll survive. sniff. That's the problem with conversations via text. You can't see the humor in my face or my body language.

Ron, I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disorder. I was not diagnosed until I was 25. I got my first wheelchair when I was, I guess 29 or so. I need a t-shirt that says "genetic mutant without any super powers". I was attempting to make a joke about being a wheelchair user.

Paptillian, I said "where dogs are not allowed" as in inside restaurants and movie theaters.

This was to be a purely hypothetical scenario, simply for gits and shiggles. Yes, a CPAP should take care of apnea events but as we all know, none of us have an AHI of 0.0. I was just wanting to explore the idea.

PaulaO2
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
07-16-2013 05:57 PM
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RonWessels Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
Ok, so I was missing something. I'm actually a lot happier at that than if you had been serious.
07-16-2013 06:22 PM
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archangle Online
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Post: #6
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
(07-16-2013 05:00 PM)PaulaO2 Wrote:  Some of you may have figured it out but I have to come out of the closet. I'm....I'm a wheelchair user.

It's terrible that they locked you up in the closet just because you needed a wheelchair. You should definitely come out of there.

There are lots of opinions and misinformation about disability laws. In particular, I've heard it said that there are "service" dogs and "therapy" dogs. I've also hear that no one can require you to produce documentation about the dog.

Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
07-17-2013 03:04 AM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
Service dogs help a single individual with a disability by doing one or more trained tasks. There's a lot of different "kinds" ranging from seizure alert to guide dogs.

Therapy dogs help groups of individuals (either in groups or one at a time) either by doing a specific task or, in most cases, simply being a dog. There's dogs who "help" kids read, work with hospice, and even several dogs who are allowed in courtrooms to help keep a witness calm.

Service dogs are not registered nor certified. There does not exist a national registration or certification for them. As of a few years ago, only dogs (except for some grandfathered-in guide ponies) can be service animals.

Therapy dogs/animals must be registered/certified by specific organizations before they can work in certain settings, such as hospitals and rehab centers. I would expect they need that certification before doing any public work.

Then there are "emotional support" animals. These animals help a specific individual but are not trained to do that help. They are not granted public access like service dogs but are allowed under the Fair Housing Act.

And yes, it was a small closet. It barely had room for the jacuzzi.

PaulaO2
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
07-17-2013 12:34 PM
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Paptillian Offline

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Post: #8
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
So all someone needs to do in order to get around a "no pets" policy is claim that their dog is a service dog. No documentation required?

In order to verify, you'd have to ask about their disability and documentation of such which then could get you into hot water over discrimination claims.

I'm no expert but this sounds like a loophole.

Dont-know
(This post was last modified: 07-17-2013 03:41 PM by Paptillian.)
07-17-2013 03:40 PM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
Quote:Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?

A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.

This is so people, like me, who train their own service dog can continue to do so. Organizations who make a living training SDs have been trying forever to get that rule changed but it will never happen.

Yes, it is easy to fake a SD. I tell businesses to observe the dog and it's owner. If the dog is in the lap or in a bag, acts like a pet and smells like a pet, it's a pet. Very very few real SDs will be in the handler's lap or in a bag. Some people with seizure disorders or diabetes may do this but it is rare.

Documentation for certain types of SDs is needed for airlines (ACAA) and housing (FHA) but not for the ADA. This is in regards to the US.

Mike needs a different cape and I was looking online a few weeks ago to see what was out there. There's a staggering number of businesses selling "tiny" SD capes. You can bet they're not for real SDs.

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Breathe deeply and count to zen.

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
07-17-2013 03:58 PM
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Zomglawlz Offline

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Post: #10
RE: Sleep Apnea and Service Dogs
I think it's a great idea. I may need a service dog in the near future as it is. Not because I'm a homosexual stuck in a wheelchair in a closet using a xpap(lol), but because I'm a 36 year old straight military guy that was recently disabled from a TBI. My license plates with the little blue guy in the wheel chair should be here any day now. No wheel chair, just forearm crutches for my vestibular damage. At least I know the cause of my apnea since I didn't have it before my injury. But, a service dog would be great I help with my balance, memory and cognitive problems. Maybe it'll be cool enough of a dog to wake me up when I'm not breathing since I still have centrals on my apap every night. Not the normal centrals, since I no longer enter REM and they are typically midway throughout the night.
07-17-2013 04:07 PM
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