Dogs And Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

War Ailment Strikes K-9 Vets Too
human and canine veterans comfort each other

By ANAHAD O'CONNOR The New York Times December 1, 2011, 4:07 PM It’s well known that post-traumatic stress is one of the major problems facing many veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But now researchers are finding that a large number of military dogs may be grappling with the condition as well. By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the roughly 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are coming down with what researchers call canine PTSD, reports James Dao in The New York Times. Though veterinarians have long diagnosed behavioral problems in animals, the concept of canine PTSD is only about 18 months old, having come into vogue among military veterinarians who have been seeing patterns of troubling behavior among dogs exposed to explosions, gunfire and other combat-related violence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like humans with the analogous disorder, different dogs show different symptoms. Some become hyper-vigilant. Others avoid buildings or work areas that they had previously been comfortable in. Some undergo sharp changes in temperament, becoming unusually aggressive with their handlers, or clingy and timid. Most crucially, many stop doing the tasks they were trained to perform. It’s not just military dogs. According to the article, a growing number of behaviorists say canine PTSD is also being seen in household pets that experience car accidents and other traumatic events. To learn more about canine PTSD, read the full report, “More Military Dogs Show Signs of Combat Stress,” and then please join the discussion below. Original Article:

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