Dr. Walter Burghardt, Jr., veterinarian & expert on canine PTSD

Dr. Walter Burghardt, Jr.–veterinarian, chief of behavioral medicine since 1995 at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base, and considered the leading authority on canine post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)–describes the Hospital and the scope of its staff and services, and what it means to be responsible for the behavioral care of over 1500 military working dogs around the world.

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He also discusses how in 2007 he and his colleagues began to see clusters of behaviors in military dogs they began to identify as canine PTSD. Dr. Burghardt addresses why he and some colleagues were initially skeptical about canine PTSD–as “a data guy,” he didn’t feel at first that there was sufficient scientific medical evidence of it, and there was concern about employing a diagnosis that mirrored a human diagnosis. But he notes that it has become useful as a shorthand for diagnosing a certain set of behaviors exhibited by military dogs in combat, explains some implications in combat of a dog experiencing signs of PTSD some, and outlined some of the ways it can be treated. Dr. Burghardt also reviews, in the wake of this knowledge, adjustments made to the way military dogs are deployed.

COMEDY CORNER: Kevin Hart’s “Phobias” (portion) (www.KHartonline.com)

MUSIC: Portugal. The Man’s “Guns and Dogs,” Shearwater’s “Animal Life,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Pink Floyd’s “Dogs”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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