JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Chaos, a Jacksonville Sheriffs Office K-9 is still recovering after being shot last week by Patrick McDowell during the manhunt in Nassau County.
Law enforcement told First Coast News that they are not sure if Choas will be mentally able to return to duty and will need to be evaluated for dog PTSD.
First Coast News spoke to the vet who is treating Chaos, Dr. Skip Hightman, who says Chaos is now walking but the leg that the bullet went through is stiff.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, we’ve heard about this mental health condition with humans but what If we told you dogs can suffer with PTSD as well.
“It goes around the same line as human PTSD. It’s the same thing, they go through a traumatic experience and sometimes it makes them less likely to want to re-engage and attack a suspect," said Charlie Wilkie, former K-9 Handler for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Wilkie says when a dog has PTSD there are some signs you can watch out for.
“Some of the characteristics you’ll see dogs do are shut down, shy away, and sometimes they’ll do a stress yawn when he’s about to be deployed," said Wilkie.
“The signs and symptoms vary, they usually are hyperexcitable and unpredictable," said Hightman.
Wilkie says there are things that you can do to help correct a dog's mental health after trauma.
“You start them all the way back over like they're a pup. Everything is confidence-building. You want to build their confidence back up so they can continue to do the job and survive," said Wilkie.