Early Warning System for Migraine: Your Dog?

by James on 20 July 2012

Could your dog warn you when you’re about to get a migraine attack?  Could that early warning mean taking medication in time, and averting a worse attack?

I know it sounds crazy to many of you, but your dog just may be smarter than you think.  We have dogs that warn the blind of danger, dogs that can sniff out drugs – and dogs that can detect early warning signs in diabetics.  Maybe a migraine-detecting dog isn’t such a long shot.

Dog with Baby

In January, an online survey was posted at Migraine.com to see if anyone had recognized changes in their dog’s behaviour before a migraine attack.  Over 1000 people answered the survey, and a full 54% said yes – during the initial phases of a migraine attack, their dog did act differently.

How did the dog act?  More attentive was the most common answer.  The dog was clingy.  Even pawing and whining and frantic licking were described.

In fact, 1 in 3 people actually use their dog’s behaviour to take their migraine medication in time.

So this doesn’t seem to be as far out as you might think – it’s actually something that a significant number of people have recognized, and are already doing.

These results will be presented at the 16th Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies in September.

Taking migraine medication at the right time can make a huge difference for a lot of people.  Maybe the canine connection is just what some dog-loving migraineurs need to fight those attacks.

via:  The Daily Headache

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia Goolia July 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm

My dogs are always clingy so they’d be useless prewarning me :-)

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Jennifer Henley Peters July 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

My dogs and cats stay right by me if i’m at home when i feel one coming on

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Sam Elvin July 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

My dog sleeps on the bed with me when I have a migraine. The rest of the time he will only jump on the bed if he is told he can.
I’ve not noticed any significant changes in him prior to a migraine, but for the last 3 months it has been chronic daily, so there’s no end to one and beginning to the next. If there is a break and I get a few good days, I’ll keep a watch on him before the next migraine kicks in.

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Lee Kempin July 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Since an extreme Hemiplegic one 2 weeks ago my dog now walks by my side when walking. The attack happened on a walk.

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Anne Elberfeld Cole July 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

does anyone have any tips on how to get rid of the symptoms of hemiplegic migraine, other than aspirin. Like Lee, I have had several recently, back-to-back. Can’t see, speak very well, think, feel anything, etc. Imitrex and other meds DO NOT help these symptoms, at least for me. I’m afraid to even go out of the house these days.

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Lee Kempin July 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Nothing works for me Anne, i just have to manage to get to a bed. I do take a preventative med called flunarazine 10mg at night that has helped, it has cut attacks down from 3 or 4 a week to 2 in 10 days, but they seem more severe but less frequent.

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Aurora August 5, 2012 at 12:52 am

My basset hound Ola behaves differently—like he’s quieiter and does not want to get in the way whenever I have an attack. He seems to know that I am in pain. But when I feel fine, he’s the same stubborn dog who’s always begging to play.

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