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?military Dogs Suffer From Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Too




Lackland Air Force Base - According to the New York Times today, Dr. Walter F. Burghardt Jr, chief of behavioral medicine at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital notes that military dogs also suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder except dogs are not able to tell a physician how they feel.

Still veterinarian Colonel Kelly Mann states dogs have similar symptoms to human soldiers including startled reactions to loud noises, sleep pattern changes, panic attacks, or the loss of their social ability. Dogs can show symptoms of sudden aggression, becoming timid and afraid, changes in temperament or even avoiding situations that used to be routine.

There are approximately 650 military dogs trained annually at Lackland which includes mostly Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and Belgian Malinois. Of that number five percent of the dogs are likely to display PTSD symptoms, and half of those dogs will be retired.

Treatment for the canine military can be as mild as giving the dogs more downtime and playtime or simply more love and attention from their handlers. In more severe cases, Xanax might be prescribed. In the most serious cases, however Burghardt describes "desensitization counterconditioning" in a treatment plan where the dog is slowly desensitived to loud noises, panic conditions or any other distressing behavior of the dog. For instance, if a dog reels at the sound of gunshot, he is kept far away from the noise. Everytime he doesn't react or panic, he is given a treat. Each time the dog is slowly moved closer and closer until the dog no longer reacts to the stimuli.

Working dogs are extremely important to the military. They have been used in the most sensitive operations from sniffing out explosives, clearing buildings, finding weapons, searching for missing military soldiers - to the most dangerous operations accompanying their human military handlers.

Nationwide veterinarians may not have been calling the disorder in their canine patients PTSD, but many endorse the concept that even household pets can suffer from the disorder whether it be http://lessstress.beep.com/ from a car accident to even lesser stressful events.

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