Dogs Get Combat Stress, Too

About 5% may have canine PTSD: New York Times
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2011 6:00 PM CST
Dogs Get Combat Stress, Too
Ringo, a black Lab, runs at the command of his handler at U.S. Marine Combat Outpost Geronimo in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, in this 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

(Newser) – Post-traumatic stress disorder doesn't affect only humans: About 5% of the military's 650 combat dogs have canine PTSD, reports the New York Times. The diagnosis itself is only about 18 months old and a bit controversial, but military veterinarians are seeing more and more dogs who can no longer perform duties such as sniffing out IEDS after a harrowing experience.

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“If you want to put doggy thoughts into their heads,” says one expert, “the dog is thinking: when I see this kind of individual, things go boom, and I’m distressed.” Some can be coaxed back into training, but many have to return to the civilian world. For good reason: If the dogs are too afraid to do their jobs, it exposes their human pals to risk. (Read more PTSD stories.)

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