Intersexed dog has sex change operation
Molly, the intersexed dog (image via BBC/PA)

 

Here’s one for the books: a young Jack Russell terrier in the U.K. that was exhibiting signs of being both male and female was diagnosed as being intersexed and had to undergo an operation in order to remedy the situation. Yup, you read that right, even dogs can be born with the condition known as hermaphroditism. While it’s more common in certain species of frogs, fish and lizards and actually the norm in snails, mammals are another matter altogether.

Diagnosis of Hermaphroditism

Normally harmless and usually left untreated, Molly, the adorable little pup in question, was suffering from pain due to the development of both male and female sex organs. When she was just four months old, Molly’s pet parents noticed the wee gal was beginning to show signs consistent with both sexes. Initially, they didn’t think too much of it, because she seemed to be an outwardly healthy and normal female, but growing concerns led them to visit their veterinarian, where the diagnosis was confirmed.

Medical Testing for Dogs

Dr. Ross Allan, Molly’s veterinarian in Glasgow, ran a series of tests to determine conclusively whether she was indeed suffering from hermaphroditism. After a series of X-rays and MRI scans it was discovered that Molly had testicles in place of her ovaries. “Molly was what is defined medically as a male pseudo hermaphrodite or, more commonly, ‘intersex,’” Dr. Allan has been noted as saying.

Canine Sex Change Operations

The good doctor also went on to say, “Her particular anatomy meant that whilst Molly appeared to be a female, closer examination revealed elements of both male and female external genitalia, and unfortunately this was leading to significant genital discomfort. If left untreated, this risked her developing a long-term and debilitating condition. We decided that the very best solution for Molly was to proceed with definitive surgery to create an anatomical situation which would avoid ongoing issues or discomfort.”

Reconstructive Surgery

Once under the knife, Molly had her pseudo male organs removed and replaced with a more functional urethra. “The surgery was a great success, and Molly is much more comfortable and happier as a result,” Allan stated. “Intersexism is rare in pets,” he added, “and some cases will not require any treatment at all. In Molly’s case, it was a painful condition which was causing problems and surgery was an important step to ensure she was able to go on to live a pain-free life.”

Pet Parenting

Molly’s mom, Mary Finlay, has said that so far they’ve seen no changes in the terrier's behavior and that she’s “still the same wee Molly” and that they wouldn’t be without their precious little girl. Now, tell me this isn’t the craziest story you’ve heard in a while — oh, and if it isn’t, we want to know a crazier pet story that can top this one. You can leave it in the comments section below or contact us with your personal account of a believe-it-or-not situation involving pets.

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