Stories abound about the sad fate of numerous human veterans of war who return home suffering from PTSD. In a recent essay I wrote about the likelihood of PTSD in wild animals and also about PTSD in captive animals who have been abused by humans. Now, we're learning more about how war dogs, like their human companions, suffer the experience of living through violent combat.

A recent article in the New York Times notes that it's estimated that "more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD. Of those, about half are likely to be retired from service ..." The Times story also notes, "If anyone needed evidence of the frontline role played by dogs in war these days, here is the latest: the four-legged, wet-nosed troops used to sniff out mines, track down enemy fighters and clear buildings are struggling with the mental strains of combat nearly as much as their human counterparts."

Various treatments are used, including drugs that work on humans and also a process called desensitization. One success story about Gina made the news but it's too early to know about the fate of other dogs who selflessly serve. I'm thrilled these amazing dogs are finally getting the treatment they fully deserve, whether they can go back to combat or not. 

Recent Posts in Animal Emotions

Animal "Euthanasia" Is Often Slaughter: Consider Kangaroos

KIlling baby kangaroos to learn how to kill them "humanely" isn't euthanasia

Cats: Owners Say Let Them be Predators and Kill Wildlife

A new study shows people are okay with free-running cats killing wildlife

Your Brain and Health in Nature: Rewilding Is Good For Us

Two studies show how walking in nature changes the brain and the value of trees

Why Science Does Not Need Female or Male Mice

A New York Times editorial “Why Science Needs Female Mice” needs close scrutiny

Dogs' Noses Know More Than Doctors About Cancer Detection

Dogs are highly accurate sniffing out various diseases and outperform humans

A Tale of Two Brains: Are Two Really Better than One?

A recent study of brain-melding raises many important questions about ethics