A Great Dane is helping a Clare family detect the onset of their 3-year-old’s epileptic seizures.

Charlie, the family pet, is able to detect the onset of a seizure for 3-year-old Brianne Lynch up to 20 minutes before it begins.

The little girl from Killaloe is one of the 10,000 children in Ireland who suffer from epilepsy.

The young girl suffers from different strains of epileptic seizures, many of which happen at night.
When the family dog detects the child is about to have a seizure he will gently hold her against a wall until a family member comes to help her.

Brianna’s mother Arabella Scanlan spoke to the Irish Times about her child’s condition, describing the family pets sixth sense as “amazing”.

“Charlie is so sensitive to her needs, if the other dogs get boisterous, he will stand by her side to ensure she doesn’t get knocked over. We know when he is acting strange, she is going to have a seizure,” she says.

Adding: "You have to see it to believe it."

The mother-of-five explained the affects of her daughter’s condition.

“For Brianna’s first seizure, she got very stiff and stopped breathing. She was resuscitated twice in the hospital. She went blue and stopped breathing. I didn’t know what a seizure was and what was happening to her,” Scanlan explained.

“It is frightening because her seizures tend to happen at night. I don’t tend to sleep very well because I am conscious of what might happen.

“She is quite a complex child: she forgets to breathe and then goes into seizure. She has gone through eight different types of medicine and it now looks like she needs brain surgery.”

Scanlan said her seizure mean she requires round the clock care.

“She is never out of anyone’s sight on a 24 hour basis.

“A lot of her seizures are at night. You will know by the way she is breathing if you can’t hear here, she is gone into seizure. 

“We had incidents where she falls to the floor and hits her head so you have to be mindful of that,” she adds.

Scanlan is working with Deirdre Cullinan from Ahane Co. Limerick, whose 3-year-old daughter, Mia is also being treated for epilepsy, to raise € 18,000 ($244,000) to purchase a new Ambulatory EEG machine

The two mothers met in University Hospital, Limerick (UHL) while their daughters were being treated and they are determined to buy the machine.

In Ireland around one in every 200 children have epilepsy, it is the most common neurological condition in children between the ages of two and ten, according to Epilepsy Ireland.