Situation

  • According to the CRS, there have been a total of 128k+ of deployed veterans between 2000-2014 diagnosed with PTSD.

  • On average, 22 veterans a day commit suicide with mental health issues directly related to deployments previously served.

  • Prescription drug treatments for PTSD often times serve to drive up the number of mental health related suicides among veterans per a study commission by the U.S Senate VA committee.

  • Fewer than half of veterans diagnosed with PTSD receive any physiatrist treatment they need. Of those who seek the treatment, between 20-50% walk away before its completion because they’re worried about it reflecting negatively on their career, or they don’t believe it’s working.

  • Currently the VA does NOT provide service dogs for mental health issues related to PTSD, but they provide service animals “trained to do specific tasks for a person that he or she cannot do because of a disability”. Veterinary care and equipment for these animals is provided through VA Prosthetics and Sensory Aids, but grooming, boarding, and other routine expenses are not covered.

  • The VA has repeatedly suspended and delayed a study commissioned to get measurable data to quantify the assistance service dogs give to veterans with PTSD.

  • The average cost for PTSD –trained service animals ranges from $10K-$20K. If all PTSD-rated veterans utilized this program at the maximum cost per-dog, it would cost Congress a small $2.5 to 4 billion total for all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. This number of course would never reach full potential because some of those veterans have already died, many have already received treatment, and a large number have already paid out of pocket for their own animals. $2.5 billion doesn’t include the cost of veterinary care over the life of the dog, which figures to be $634 million for the life of the maximum potential number of dogs over a 15 year lifespan of the dog.

  • Service dogs trained by non-profits and for-profit companies who work with vets experiencing symptoms of PTSD can provide a plethora of successful stories with service dogs.