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Therapy dogs and Allergies

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You are reading page 5 of Therapy dogs and Allergies. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

Our K9 and his handler are no longer allowed to visit our elementary schools due to a parent complaint. considering allergies, I would think many students and myself come to school covered with dander and could cause a reaction. It's not like peanut butter I can wash off my hands.

Edited by peacockblue
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I think the issue here is that Therapy dogs are not a part of any individual care plan and don't fall into ADA requirements...like service dogs. The comparison will rile some but therapy dogs are like "calming rooms" or coloring books to be used on an as needed basis without any type of medical guidance or instruction. As the positive affects continue to manifest from Therapy dogs they will continue to become more and more popular; hence my initial statement...therapy dogs, nowadays, will trump allergies - a circle back to providing for "the greater good" and the individual with dog allergies will just have to avoid the allergen...putting it harshly, "you can't come in here because you're allergic to the dog."

Again, I'm not anti-therapy dog...I'm just stepping back and looking at the broader complexion.

so you're referring to one dog providing a service of calming that a child could go and ask for as opposed to one child with a dog "prescribed" for their anxiety. Yeah, if that's the case then that makes sense. While it's nice to have a dog to pet and a calming place, it isn't sensible to bring an unnecessary animal in when other interventions could be put in place.

Other service animals would certainly be a different story. Seeing eye dog or seizure detection dog, no question. Even a K9 coming in to do a routine sweep of the building should not be questioned. These are all working animals, but an unassigned therapy animal providing a calming option for students should be implemented after careful consideration for student population.

Now, that being said - i have worked in schools where teachers brought in seeing eye dog pups trainees which have been good educational experiences for the children. I guess somewhere there lies a balance

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Wow! Call me clueless, but can service animals really detect seizure activity and sniff out glucose levels? I could understand DKA, but I can smell that.

We had a preK kiddo who used a diabetic service dog at home. I know the plan is to eventually have him bring the dog to school but he was not physically strong enough to control the dog on a leash. The dog has alerted parents to blood glucose under 50 overnight on multiple occasions when the child's monitor read in the low 100s.

My son has awful asthma. He is also allergic to dogs (among many other things that can and do trigger his asthma), with that being said, I have zero issue with service or therapy dogs at his school. My son takes allergy meds, used his inhalers and has a nebulizer at school. My son is also very aware of his allergies and asthma and how the two go hand in hand. He knows what he is allergic to and knows the appropriate steps to avoid his triggers.

Now when I say my sons asthma is awful, I mean it is AWFUL. To the point of being transported to the ER from school via ambulance bc his O2 has dropped to 82%, blue lips, pale, clammy skin etc.

Point being, my son knows not to get close enough to dogs so he can avoid inhaling their dander. He knows not to touch them, not to have them on his belongings etc. So dogs aren't an issue unless he were to decide to literally roll around on the ground with one. Being in the same room with one doesn't impact his asthma/allergy whatsoever.

So, I am a-okay with service and therapy dogs. I know how valuable they can be for the person they are helping and I am aware they are very much needed. If the school can accommodate my child and his asthma, then they should also accommodate a child or children who need a service/therapy dog.

Just my 2 cents.

I like your post and I have to say that you have THE BEST username. I'm jealous.

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Who gets to clean up any dog potty accidents???? I see this automatically falling to the school nurse??

That would be a HUGE Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!!!

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The dogs can pick up on sugar levels, seizures, cancers, an autistic child about to have a meltdown just to name a few. A seizure dog will alert the patient to get into a safe place or even on the floor, they will stay with the patient observing the breathing, licking the face to encourage the patient to come around, go get the medications that are needed. Glucose dogs will alert the patient his sugar is changing and the patient can test, ask the dog to go retrieve juice from the refrigerator if needed. Anxiety dogs will get as close as they can and start licking their patient, nuzzling for petting which will encourage the patient to relax. All of them will leave and go find help if things go badly or bring the phone so the patient can call 911. These dogs are groomed often, receive more frequent vet checks, and are often breeds that have very little danger. There are even dogs trained to smell out allergens and keep their charges from being exposed. Service Animals are serious when working, will not engage with people other than their owners, extremely well trained and very, very expensive. On average 20,000 dollars per dog. I am sure that the school would make arrangements to keep a child with a dog allergy out of the same class with a student that requires one. Now if we are talking about group therapy dogs I am sure that any student that is allergic to dogs will be excused from having to attend such a therapy session.

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Great educational, thought provoking thread! I'm not a school nurse but school isn't the only setting where animals are potentially a benefit to patient care (well, and the healthcare staff too!) but other factors unfortunately have to be considered also.

Here's a link that contains info that might be helpful to some, who like me, were confused about some of the differences in laws etc.

Differences between Service, Emotional Support, and Therapy Animals - SERVICE DOG AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL LETTERS & REGISTRATION

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This is a really interesting question--trying to balance the needs of two different populations. I've found that not all allergies are given equal weight. My son's grade school was "peanut free." He has an allergy to shrimp but the school cafeteria served shrimp as a meat-free option for many years.

In a similar vein, one of the local high schools had a dilemma when a student who was on the autism spectrum (and maybe Tourette's?) used disparaging language and racial epithets with African American students. What's the pecking order? Who do we serve first? I have no answers, but it seems that these issues are only going to become more common and more complex.

What was the outcome in the dilemma you mentioned?

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This was very quickly quashed in the media as the school didn't want the negative publicity. From what I understand, the autistic student's mother pulled him out of the school saying that it was unsafe, which, quite frankly, it was. The incident was caught on video and it is difficult to watch. The African American student physically picks him up and throws him to the ground, headfirst. It's surprising that he didn't suffer and spinal cord injury. I believe the African American student was expelled. Not absolutely positive since, as I said, the school did its best to keep the whole thing quiet. I had heard that the autistic student not only used inappropriate language, but also went out of his way to harass the African American student, following him around the school antagonizing him.

These are all just things that I heard through the grapevine. Kind of a shame that we can't get the full story.

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