Physician Letters - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Physician Letters

Hello, how have you guys gone about obtaining your service dog letters from your physician/psychiatrist? My psychiatrist/psychologist has a company policy that does not allow them to write such letters, even if there is a need for it and neither does my nurse practitioner feels there is no need for a SD when there are medication. I was able to obtain an assistance animal letter from a doctor who I used to see, but unfortunately, he retired last friday. It is very difficult to find a doctor who will even be willing to write a emotional support animal letter in my area (Fargo North dakota) even if you have a history of mental illness.

How would you suggest to go about obtaining a letter?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 03:46 PM
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Service dogs do not require any letters.

The letter for an ESA would have to come from a medical professional. Is the letter for housing?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Service dogs do not require any letters.

The letter for an ESA would have to come from a medical professional. Is the letter for housing?
I thought for legal reasons, you may want to get a letter saying you were prescribed a service dog for your disability? I mean this one isn't very important till I had a fully trained service dog but the ESA letter for housing is important.

Yeah I do have a letter for housing for an ESA currently that got accepted, its just for future letters I am kind of unsure what to do since my doctor just retired. Its been hard to find doctors that do believe in ESA's and their values
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 05:12 PM
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Service dogs and Emotional support animals are different. Service dogs do not require a letter but do need to be able to perform and help with a specific task. They must be trained. ESAs do not require training. ESAs do need a letter either for housing or flying depending on what the person needs. ESA letters must be written by a licensed mental health professional, so that can be any licensed mental health professional, psychiatrist, counselor, etc. Try seeing a licensed mental health counselor at a center or a different psych and you could call ahead or email about you possibly wanting an ESA if they would feel your condition suits it. My girlfriend had an ESA letter for housing that a licensed mental health counselor wrote.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Service dogs and Emotional support animals are different. Service dogs do not require a letter but do need to be able to perform and help with a specific task. They must be trained. ESAs do not require training. ESAs do need a letter either for housing or flying depending on what the person needs. ESA letters must be written by a licensed mental health professional, so that can be any licensed mental health professional, psychiatrist, counselor, etc. Try seeing a licensed mental health counselor at a center or a different psych and you could call ahead or email about you possibly wanting an ESA if they would feel your condition suits it. My girlfriend had an ESA letter for housing that a licensed mental health counselor wrote.
Yeah I do know the difference between the two, I just thought for legal reasons you needed a letter to cover yourself about a documented disability. The people that I know that have SD's have a letter saying they were prescribed one.

What type of centers would you say? The psychiatrists I am going through currently is from Sanford which is a hospital with surrounding clinics. Sanford is against ESA letters. It seems like most of the major hospitals have policies against ESA's so I am unsure of where to go for psychiatric care that accepts insurance. I suppose I can start calling around.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 07:19 PM
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Typically the choice to use an ESA or psych service dog is something the treatment team is involved with and supports.

I've never heard of a mental health facility with a policy against writing a letter like this?

There are times when a psych service dog is not productive to treatment.

You do need a letter to FLY with a psych service dog, because the ACAA classifies them in the same category as ESAs
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2018, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Typically the choice to use an ESA or psych service dog is something the treatment team is involved with and supports.

I've never heard of a mental health facility with a policy against writing a letter like this?

There are times when a psych service dog is not productive to treatment.

You do need a letter to FLY with a psych service dog, because the ACAA classifies them in the same category as ESAs
I didn't either but I do work at the same company that the clinic is part of and looked up the policies myself. The behaviorial health team "discourages" it and so physicians follow that. Oh of course, most of the time they won't look at that option either until it is brought up. I am going to be looking into other health centers around the area.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 08:12 AM
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Yeah I do have a letter for housing for an ESA currently that got accepted, its just for future letters I am kind of unsure what to do since my doctor just retired. Its been hard to find doctors that do believe in ESA's and their values
I think that's odd that your new doctor has issues continuing a "prescription" from your old doctor. I understand the "discouragement" some doctors have, though...it is a privilege that is frequently abused.

I had a lapse in mental health assistance for 2 years and moved from Hawaii to Maryland between. My new psychiatrist had no issues prescribing me my same medication I was on before since I did so well on it. This last time I visited, I had mentioned how I've been going out more despite my social anxiety because of Katsu (her trials, GSD club meetings, etc.) She asked if Katsu was my ESA. I said no, but the more I thought about it, she kind of is. I have no need for a letter though. We own our home and I don't fly often and have heavy sedatives for when I do.

I'm not sure how pricy out of pocket visits could be in your area, but maybe googling some MH facilities in your area, or maybe even in another state that you may be willing to travel to. It's a year prescription, right? Some doctors do virtual counseling - I know it was common in Hawaii.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 09:49 AM
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There are counseling centers in many cities with licensed mnetal health counselors who can write an ESA letter. Also often times school or hospital psychs will not prescribe ESAs due to policy like you said. You would need to see an independent psychiatrist that either has their own practice or works at a private practice.
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