Living With a Rare Hermaphrodite Dog

Fagjun | Published 2017-05-02 20:00

A veterinarian discovered that a young Jack Russel terrier is a rare canine hermaphrodite.

Hermaphroditism is a condition in which an organism has both male and female reproductive organs. This is the normal condition for some organisms, like worms, snails, and slugs. However, for other animals, hermaphroditism is an abnormality. Dogs have either male or female genitalia, and hermaphroditism is quite rare.

Frank and Mary Finlay, a couple living in Scotland, bought a Jack Russel terrier pup they called Molly in 2015. They thought that Molly was female. Quite soon after they brought Molly home, however, they began noticing some odd behaviors. Molly lifted her leg to urinate, though female dogs typically squat when they eliminate. This observation prompted the Finlays to bring Molly to veterinarians for an examination.

There's Something About Molly

A Jack Russell terrier puppy

Upon investigation, the vets concluded that Molly was a rare hermaphrodite dog. Molly had undescended testicles and a vestigial penis alongside her female genitalia. Veterinarian Ross Allan concluded, however, that the correct scientific term for Molly's condition is pseudohermaphroditism.

Hermaphroditism of any sort is extremely rare in dogs. The veterinarians that examined Molly had never seen a case like hers before she came along. There also isn't much scientific literature on hermaphrodite dogs.

Molly underwent a number of x-rays and scans so the vets can figure out her reproductive anatomy. The vets found that the route of Molly's urethra was similar to that of a urethra in a male dog. Her external genitalia, though female, had the formation of male genitalia.

Abnormal hermaphroditism can cause problems for the individual. Molly's abnormal anatomy was beginning to become inflamed. She was also beginning to behave more and more like a male dog. However, the problem was that she did not have the correct anatomy to be behaving in such a way. Molly's vet thought that this disconnect between Molly's anatomy and behavior will cause more problems in the future.

Rare Hermaphrodite Dog No More

Thus, surgery was necessary. The vets had to remove the vestigial penis and create an opening that was more consistent with female genitalia. At the time of the surgery, Molly was only six months old and was quite young to be undergoing that kind of operation. However, the vets thought it prudent to operate as soon as possible to make sure that Molly's condition didn't cause any more problems.

The Finlays were worried about how Molly was going to pull through the surgery, being that Molly was so young. Molly also experienced some hemorrhaging from the surgery and had to stay and recover at the clinic for a few days.

However, Molly pulled through and made a full recovery. Now that her hermaphrodite past is behind her, she is a normal, happy, and healthy dog.

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