Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dog Lobotomys

Animal Anecdote 12.

It would seem that we humans go through periods of fads like hula hoops and the like and even the human medical profession can be included. One such “fad” was the treatment for special disorders called prefrontal lobotomies. I knew nothing about the details of such surgery and had not even considered such surgery for any of my patients.

The owner of a Great Dane that had bitten several people and who was being sued over it asked if, instead of euthanizing his dog would I consider a lobotomy operation? I said I would do some inquiring and get back to him. A few days later a Boxer owner presented his dog for euthanasia with a similar history as the Great Dane. I mentioned that Great Dane problem and that I planned to do some inquiring about lobotomy surgery and would get back to him.

It had always been my policy to ask members of the human medical profession for advice where I thought they might contribute. Being near the Yale University Medical School, I phoned and asked to speak with one of their brain surgeons. I was surprised at his response that of course he knew about such surgery, that research was ongoing that included changing dog personality with it. He would be delighted to come to my veterinary hospital and perform it at my convenience. I would be his assistant.

It was an interesting procedure that took only about an hour of my day off for the Great Dane and the same for the Boxer the following Wednesday. A week after surgery The Great Dane’s stitches were removed and the owner said he was a different dog. He was very quiet and remained in one position for hours. The next week found his dog still remaining in the same position but he had bitten the wife who was his feeder while being fed. Euthanisia was performed.

The week after when the Boxer’s owner returned for an exam and stitch removal by the owner he brought a neighbor to hold a leash to prevent the master’s being bitten and the master held another leash to prevent the neighbor’s being bitten. After a few days of quiet after the surgery the Boxer became more violent than previously. We euthanized the Boxer. As a comment, in my experience the prefrontal lobotomy was not a successful procedure in dogs in my hands. 413words

Dog Lobotomies

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