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10/7/09

Military Dogs Returning to Multiple War Tours Suffer Stress, Nightmares

In WWI they called it shell shock. In WWII it was combat fatigue. Today, soldiers experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dogs also go to war.

Timi, a 5 year-old German shepherd, is an Iraq war veteran, and "according to his medical file, he has nightmares 'characterized by violent kicking.' His veterinarian says he has had 'readjustment issues' since coming home--although not severe enough to prevent him from returning to the field. Timi started thrashing about in his sleep. . . . . 'He was kicking the . . . kennel down. . . . When I got him out of it, he'd have that bewildered look, and it would take him a minute to know where he was. Then he'd fall back asleep, and it would happen again and again.' For two years, Walter Burghardt, chief of behavioral medicine at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Veterinary Service, has been studying the effects of combat on dogs. More

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