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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in dogs

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Dogpsycho, Jan 31, 2014.


  1. Dogpsycho

    Dogpsycho PetForums Newbie

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    Can anyone offer any information about treating PTSD (especially in the UK).

    I currently have 2 "special needs "street" dogs" (1 from Greece, 1 from Romania) that have been attacked & disabled by people (1 has been brain damaged & blinded, the other shot & crippled).

    Most of the information I've found has come from America and organisations such as the Kennel Club, British Veterinary Association, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and many others have either yet to answer my enquiries or suggest that I "look on the Internet" !

    I believe that there are many dogs (and other animals) that suffer from this disorder, for a wide variety of reasons and under many differing circumstances, with a VERY wide range of treatments/options being used (up to and including death) !

    I would appreciate any information on any (UK/European) literature that may be available.

    Thanks to all :)
     
  2. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    No idea about any literature, but I believe it's something the Police and military have been investigating. Perhaps you could look down those avenues?

    One thing i would ask though is would it actually change your handling of your dogs and your training? Their behaviour would be the same regardless of what is causing it so I am wondering whether anything would actually change or whether time spent searching for info is time that would be better spent in training?
     
  3. Dogpsycho

    Dogpsycho PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your input. I'll contact the Ministry of Defence (etc) and ask their veterinary section(s) about the condition.

    Yes, it DOES change handling & training, as their conditions have to be taken into consideration when doing so, e.g. length of time training (if they're distressed/distracted, for ANY reason (e.g. pain. noise(s) etc), they won't concentrate on me), type of training (e.g. either dog & running, blind dog going "off lead"), pain management, hazardous environments, etc.

    I'm sure you're aware that "blind dogs rule the house" as everything must be done "for them" and everyone else has to "fit in".

    As you may have seen in my pictures, I sometimes use a wheelchair for my crippled "Greekie" and exercise him on grass only, as much as possible.

    Thanks again - David :)
     
  4. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    I think you missed my point. I realise their needs change training absolutely but what I was driving at is does it matter how they came to have those needs? For example any dog if over threshold will not concentrate on it's handler, any blind dog must be catered for, any severely reactive dog towards children for example will need sympathetic handling to improve their emotional response upon seeing children.

    My own dog was badly attacked and left with some issues post attack. To me, whether or not he could experience PTSD is immaterial to my rehabilitation of him. I handle according to what I can see rather than what I can only make guesses about. That is what I was trying to say - absolutely consider the special needs a dog has but whether or not PTSD is an issue is surely an aside? We cannot tell, only make guesses, and can still only treat the stress as we have been all along.
     
    #4 Dogless, Feb 1, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  5. Dogpsycho

    Dogpsycho PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the clarification. I agree wholeheartedly that it doesn't matter HOW they came to have the condition(s).

    I'm trying to find out, in the UK, what has and/or has not worked with/on dogs with a diagnosis of PTSD, in order to be more enlightened on the subject & therefore better able to help my dogs.

    I realise that PTSD is just a collection of signs & symptoms which may or may not be present and/or that the diagnosis may be subjective/"wrong", but, for me, the more information I have, the more able I am to help my dogs, thereby helping to make life easier for me, as well as them.

    At the moment, I agree that it's not making any difference to how they're treated/trained, but more information may point out something of which I'm not aware, that I might see in the future and/or how to deal with what had/has been, until now, unknown (by me).

    I'm really grateful for your input - it's very much appreciated.Thanks again :)
     
  6. springerpete

    springerpete PetForums VIP

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    I've never come across PTSD in dogs.at least not that I know of, I did once have a Retriever that had been subjected to a lonely, frightened and miserable first five months of his life. He was pretty stressed out when I got him, not least by the complete change in his lifestyle, what he'd known may have been bloody awful but it was what he was used to and the changes wrought by his coming to our home must have been something of a shock to his young system. Without having recourse to all of the new and complicated methods that seem to be in vogue at the moment I dealt with his issues in the only way I know, with gentleness, patience and lots of confidence building. The same methods I believe Dogless applied in dealing with her dogs problems following his being attacked. It worked for him, as it seems to be working for Dogless and her dog. It's my, perhaps naïve belief, that most confidence problems in dogs are able to be resolved by simple, if time consuming, methods.
    Now waiting to be shot down in flames for my simplistic approach to dog issues........
     
  7. Dogpsycho

    Dogpsycho PetForums Newbie

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    Once again, I wholeheartedly agree with the techniques used when dealing with traumatised dogs.

    However, what I'm trying to find out includes, for example, whether dogs, like humans, can suffer from "one-time learning", i.e. where an event is so traumatic that it stays imprinted for life and, if so, are my dogs (or anyone elses) going to permanently remember the situation(s) under which they became traumatised/disabled and, if so, likely to react to similar situations in the future ? Will their sleep be disturbed by nightmares of traumatic events and, if yes, how do I deal with this ? Is medication helpful and, if yes, what medication, what dosage & under what circumstances ? These are just some examples of the questions I'd like answered by people who have researched the subject, as well as those that have experience of traumatised dogs.

    In America, PTSD in dogs has been researched and articles written in professional journals. However, little or nothing like this has been done in the UK. Therefore I'm trying to find out what, if anything, has been written and/or experienced in this country, as we differ from America in many ways.
     
  8. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    David Ryan in his book "Dogs That Bite and Fight" mentions one - time learning; let me go through it today and see if I can find a reference for you of any sort.
     
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