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Researchers find that a large number of military dogs may be grappling with post-traumatic stress from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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 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." Taken from Anahad O'Connor's "Well Pets" column from the New York Times 12/2/11 The photo was taken by Bryce Harper.
Read these true stories of heroic military dogs :
A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours in Iraq. After returning home, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury and crippling PTSD took their toll. Haunted by the war and in constant pain, Luis drank, argued, and cut himself off from those he loved. Then he met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive service dog who had trouble trusting humans - until Luis.
Tells the inspiring story of Sergeant Mike Dowling and his bomb-snifing dog, Rex, as they navigated the always-dangerous Triangle of Death region in Iraq in 2004.
The heroes honored in this volume include the "kamikaze" attack dogs used by Russia's Red Army to destroy the invading Germans' tanks, the heroic Airedale Jack who saved an entire British battalion during World War I, the parachuting dog who made more jumps during World War II than any man, and the American war dogs that saved as many as 10,000 lives during the Vietnam War. Starting with early warriors and moving through Allied dogs and American mascot dogs of World War I; para pups, anti-tank dogs, and defense dogs of World War II; the collection ends with scout dogs and other dog stories of the Vietnam War.
The greatest man-dog effort of all time...how the Dog Corps helped the troops in World War II
John C. Burnam recalls his service in-country as a scout dog handler in the 25th Infantry Division's 44th Scout Dog Platoon with his canine comrade, Clipper. Burnam takes readers through the mud and blood of his two tours of duty, first as a regular infantryman when he was wounded in battle, then as a member of a scout dog team walking point through Vietnam's perilous jungles and villages.