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Friday, December 07, 2012

Military Dogs Now Officially Dubbed PTSD Sufferers

Photo of retired military dog, Cora, and Marine Cpl., Drew Daniel Adams, by Tony Perry, courtesy of the LA Times.

Although we've previously written about military dogs and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the information in this recent article in The LA Times gives new information: A working group of dog trainers and other specialists at the dog training facility at Lackland Air Force Base has officially labeled traumatized military working dogs who have served in combat areas as having PTSD. They agreed to this designation without the "lengthy professional vetting" that is required for a medical designation because "a delay could endanger those who depend on the dogs." Namely, combat troops.

According to the article, when Cora, the retired Belgian Malinois, pictured above, initially retired from active military duty and returned to the U.S. two years ago, "...there was not a term for the condition that had undercut her combat effectiveness and shattered her nerves. Now there is: canine post traumatic stress disorder." And veterinarians and military dog handlers agree that "dogs, like humans, can require treatment for PTSD", including conditioning, retraining and anti-anxiety medication. And we particularly love this assessment: "Some dogs, like 5 year-old Cora, just need to be treated as honored combat veterans and allowed to lead less stressful lives."

Sometimes these canine war veterans can be retrained for other types of work with the military or law enforcement, and others are simply retired and adopted as family pets. But today's treatment of military dogs is a far cry from the disposal of canines during the Vietnam War when the military simply left behind hundreds of working dogs, labeling them "excess equipment." We've come a long way, baby.


GizmoGeodog said...

It's about time these hard-working dogs get the respect they deserve...

Bocci said...

We couldn't agree more, Gizmo!

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