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Military Working Dogs Get PTSD, Too

Army Dog with Doggles
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Above: Army Dog with Doggles

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Members of the military have been plagued with post-traumatic stress disorder for as long as there has been war. After World War I, it was called “Shell Shock.” Veterans of battle in WWII were told they had “Combat Fatigue.” Now, psychologists call the mental trauma caused by battle post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. And, it turns out, humans aren’t the only ones who suffer from it.

Lt. Col. Richard A. Vargus, chief of the law enforcement branch at CENTCOM, tells USA Today that as more military working dogs are sent into battle, an increasing number of the four-legged warriors will suffer the consequences:

“Our biggest issue that we have with canines is canine PTSD. We’ve seen a significant issue with that because when you’re standing 10 feet away from an explosion, the dog has emotions and the dog is affected as well… It really is difficult, because once the dog experiences these traumatic explosions, it’s the same as the troops.”

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