Military dogs being diagnosed with PTSD

By Lynn Curwin.

Many humans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and now the condition is being recognized in military dogs.
Military veterinarians, who have seen dogs exposed to explosions and gunfire in Iraq and Afghanistan, believe some of these dogs are suffering from canine PTSD.
Some dogs become more aggressive while others become more timid. Some avoid areas where they had previously been comfortable, and are unable to do their jobs.
“If the dog is trained to find improvised explosives and it looks like it’s working, but isn’t, it’s not just the dog that’s at risk,” Dr. Walter F. Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioural medicine at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base, told the New York Times.“This is a human health issue as well.”
Last year, the US Air Force told the story of Gina, a four-year-old German shepherd who did not behave the same after returning from a five-month tour in Southwest Asia. She was anti-social, jumpy, and showed no interest in detecting drugs and bombs. She had to go through months of rehabilitation before she was acting like herself again.
"The improvement came over time," Master Sgt. Eric Haynes said. "She was quite broken. You don't want to see anyone suffering like that - people or dogs."
Some canines are given anti-anxiety medication.
Military dogs are usually German shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labrador retrievers- and are better than machines at detecting improvised explosive devices, which are usually made from fertilizer and chemicals.
“Dogs are the best detectors,” National Defense magazine quoted Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization, as saying.
He said dogs working with troops are able to detect 80 per cent of IEDs, which is the best detection system they have.

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