Saturday, August 29, 2009

Veterinary Anecdotes-Dog 1

During close to 50 years of veterinary practice I saw only one case that I will describe now. It was a young adult hound cross presented because it (I don't recall the sex) bit it's own back legs and nothing could be done to stop it. The dog was pleasant enough and seemed to enjoy attention but when it lay down on either side it's top rear leg would start to move toward the dog's face. It would get about a foot from it's face and the dog would snap suddenly and bite itself with a cry of pain and a sudden rising to it's feet. After a few minutes it would calm down and lie again with that top leg slowly advancing toward the dog's face and the bite would be repeated. Both back legs were infected and scarred from that self injurious biting and nothing seemed to stop it. We had no solution with bandages and chemical deterrents. Eventually the owner requested euthanasia.
Another case the likes of which I saw only once in my lengthy practice was in a champion English setter. She was valuable as a breeding animal but failed to come in heat for two years in spite of hormone medications. I suggested exploratory surgery. There was the problem, An infected uterus called pyometra was found. However only one horn of the uterus was involved. In the bitch the uterus is bifurcated with a horn going to two separted ovaries. I removed the infected horn with the ovary on that side and sent the dog (bitch) home. By phone the breeder informed me she came in heat in two weeks after the surgery. I though it prudent to wait until her next heat but she was bred, incidentally, to a champion and when presented 18 days later I could palpate pregnancy. The breeder then told me that they had a prospective purchaser for the bitch and what did I think of the dog's chances of having a normal litter? I discouraged it but a large sum of money was involved and the prospective purchaser was informed of the half uterus situation. In England at that time an imported dog had to stay in quarantine for 6 months. The breeder kept me posted on that situation. That bitch had 12 puppies in quarantine and raised them all. The question of how many puppies she might have had with a full uterus rather than half is interesting. I had never heard of an English setter with 24 puppies in a litter.
Thinking of female canines reminds me of a visitor who came to see me one Sunday morning and daughter Kate who was 6 years old answered the door. The visitor knew our children and asked if I were around. She answered, "Yes, he's out in the garage breeding a bitch."
My Father had discovered a reflex in dogs that had never been reported. A friend, Frank Beach, an animal psychologist at Yale brought the famous Kinsey to our house to observe a demonstration. I f the thumb and forefinger were compressed in an area above a dog's penis the dog would thrust forward. This was helpful in encouraging a reluctant dog to breed. Dr. Beach thought it important to report it in the scientific literature. He did just that and now the discovery of the Whitney Reflex is in the literature.
A young couple presented their house dog to me with a problem. The dog had pubic lice. I asked how they came to that conclusion as I knew pubic lice do not affect canines. The answer was that they both had them and they could only have contracted them from the dog. I told them what I would do with that problem if I were so infested and that dogs do not have that species of body lice. I would get two bricks and put a louse on one and strike it with the other brick.
I asked a client if her young female dog had been in heat and she answered, "Yes,doctor, she sleeps behind the stove."
The owners let their beagle out for a few minutes before they retired and the dog did not return. Assuming the dog would return they left a shed door open for it but during the night a blizzard snow storm raged all night and still no dog. Two days later a neighbors boy heard a strange noise in the woods behind his house and using his skis to ski over the deep snow there was the beagle with its foot caught in a steel leg hold trap. The dog's toes finally dropped off and most of his pads but eventually he developed new pads and, although he always had a limp he could walk on it. Healing took over 6 months. Children should be taught how cruel those devices are and they should have been outlawed years ago.

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