Military Dogs Suffer PTSD

With several thousand dogs on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is learning that combat takes a toll on canines as well as humans. Of the 650 dogs that have seen active combat, more than 5 percent suffer from canine PTSD. The symptoms vary from hypervigilance and increased aggression to extreme timidity. The military is experimenting with desensitization treatment and anti-anxiety medication, but about half the dogs will half to be retired from service. They also stop being able to work. Dogs have become essential to U.S. military forces in Afghanistan for their ability to detect improvised explosive devices that contain almost no metal. “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,” says a military veterinarian. “This is a human health issue as well.”