i think some people like their dogs chronically sick

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Farrah- ♥12/9- 7-3/06

I love Bosco,- Jack & GR
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 1:07pm PST 
Beau...you are so right. The byb/mills, etc should abide by the list or they get a hefty fine/jail time. I also agree with you...either keep the dog alive or (I know this isn't possible, but it ticks Mom off)...but the person to sleep! Oh, if only we could! There should be mandatory jail time for those losers as well...no first chances.

Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 1:40pm PST 
There isn't anything you can do for or to someone you merely have internet correspondence with.

It takes a team of qualified mental health professionals to make such a serious diagnosis. Even then it can be difficult to nail it down.

Just because someone is exhibiting immature or attention seeking behavior doesn't mean they have MBPS. One should not be jumping to any conclusions about a stranger having it without first having the ENTIRE story on an individual as well as the qualifications to interpret that story.

And to clarify, some people may "like" the attention they get from playing perpetual caregiver of someone, but that doesn't cross the line into Munchausens By Proxy UNLESS and UNTIL they assault the other individual by doing something that precipitates them staying sick or becoming sicker.
Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 1:55pm PST 
I think there is something that's been neglected in this discussion- there is a HUGE difference between MBP and simple hypochondria. The MBP parent actually CAUSES illness by administering drugs, creating wounds, etc for sympathy. The hypochondriac may believe themselves (or their child, or their pet) to be deathly ill and harvest a lot of sympathy from people, but they don't actually abuse themselves or their child. This does damage too (I know more than one child who's been deprived of a lot because their parent was convinced they were fragile- hello Secret Garden?) but it's psychological, not physical.

I've met a lot of pet parents that I would consider "hypochondriacs by proxy" in that they are hypervigilant for signs of illness and blow all symptoms way out of proportion. They are quick to run to the vet and insist on treatment for minor problems that would probably resolve on their own. They see minor, transient issues (like diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, etc) as symptoms of some grand, terrible syndrome. It's easy to blame a variety of symptoms on things like food intolerance, allergies, vaccine reactions, etc because the real symptoms are poorly defined.

I think it's a variety of confirmation bias- dog has symptom X, indicative of syndrome Y. You treat for syndrome Y, and symptom X goes away, so therefore it WAS syndrome Y. This excludes the possibility that X would have gone away on its own in any case and was NOT caused by syndrome Y.

Angel Mini

A Heartbeat at- Your Feet ♥
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 2:06pm PST 
Good point Bruno, well said.
I think we have seen some of this on dogster. Hypochondria or munchausens there have been dogsters who do have constant, and heart wrenching, stories of their dogs many, many, many problems. We've also seen when the dog parent- the typist, shares the many, many, many endless stories of their own personal illnesses and have had many a thread started for either their dog or themself for prayers which we've all kindly given. Not saying all these people are suffering from either of the above, of course we all know dogs and people do get sick and when it rains it pours but red flags have been raised in the past. Very sad because it must be very difficult to disgnose these things, someone does have to doubt a friend or family member and really make a stand to get them medical attention for this unusual illness.
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 5:39pm PST 
There are also people who lie or stretch the truth over the internet to get a reaction. You just never know.

I think Bruno (I think that was you) has a good point. There are people who cause pain to their children in order to get attention (MBP)and there are people who blow things out of proportion.

Vaccine free- -Disease free- goes pawinpaw
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 6:01pm PST 
Oh I feel like I can tell the difference between hypochondria, concern, and MbP certainly with this woman I mentioned.....there's something different. Why I used the word "like" was because it seems like she delight in reporting how sick her dog is but I understand it's addiction now. But what about someone or dog who IS already sick not caused by parent/owner but the parent/owner KEEPS them sick purposely for their own attention?

Anyway I agree excellent post Bruno. In the case of the woman I mentioned here, I'm sure she does this but in other cases online it's harder to tell but some do sound it. But for us to tell the difference between hypochondria or figure out if they're the ones who made their dog sick is going to be near impossible on dog forums and groups I guess.

Edited by author Mon Jan 9, '12 6:02pm PST


Basset Hound- with a Flatty- suit on
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 7:46pm PST 
"But what about someone or dog who IS already sick not caused by parent/owner but the parent/owner KEEPS them sick purposely for their own attention? "

That would fall under MbP if they are causing harm to the animal by not giving the proper medication or what have you in a purposeful way. Keeping a person/animal sick I think falls under the 'harm' category. If someone fell and busted their head open the obvious decision is to call 911 immediately. If someone fell and that wasn't done....purposefully.... they might not have caused the harm themselves, but they didn't use the immediate and logical solution, therefore causing harm to the person.

If that makes sense.

Also, mental illnesses are a sad thing. My grandmother is a hoarder (not the animal kind) with some other problems and she will not accept help. She was a mean person in her younger days, but now she's just kind of a batty old lady with a ton of stuff from QVC. We like to watch the hoarding shows with shock, awe and mockery, but nobody would choose to live like that.
I thought this was a good article that ran a while back about hoarding. it hits.... close to home regarding my grandmother.

That was sort of a tangent.

Anyhow, I think there is a clear line between being overly worried for your pet, and doing something that is unwise because you don't know better and purposefully keeping your animal sick or hurt.

Work? What's- that?
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 9:01pm PST 
I've definitely seen a lot of "hypochondriac by proxy" - just one case of what I'd believe is MBP. I guess it could be a case of severely deluded HBP, and I know I'm hardly a health professional, but she definitely is harming the dog by what she does.

From what I can gather it started as typical old age symptoms - but from there things very rapidly descended into Wonderland. Now the dog is directly suffering at her hands and dangerous methods of treatment. Said person seems to enjoy the attention, so...I don't know. It doesn't "feel" right - it isn't a typical "keep everyone updated on my dog's status" sort of thing. Feels very very wrong. I wouldn't make that kind of a grave accusation unless I knew for sure that something was "off."

Whatever it is...it isn't right, it isn't normal, and the dog is suffering because of it...and there's nothing anyone can do frown.
Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
Barked: Tue Jan 10, '12 11:19am PST 
While MbP and other disorders are very real, I think you'd have to be pretty close to the person involved to do anything about it. As mentioned, these things can be very difficult to diagnose, and since they are mental illnesses, they require more than simple Animal Control intervention.

When it comes to the internet, honestly, I think it's best to ignore the people who seem to present these symptoms. Ban them from your e-mail lists/forums if possible. In most cases on the internet, thankfully, I think it's just attention-seeking. While the person may still benefit from seeing a psychologist, most likely they are not actually harming anyone.

The other big thing to watch out for online is people with terrible sad stories who are suddenly collecting money. It certainly can be legit - Dog knows I've considered doing it for Vance - but there are a lot of scams out there too.
Samuel Jacob- (4/1/97-4/4/- 08)

We had seasons- in the sun......

Barked: Tue Jan 10, '12 1:56pm PST 
Some people could have thought what was happening to Sammy was something like that. And I would have been livid had they even hinted at it. Sammy had bad luck.

I've been told I have defective dogs because they always have something wrong with them. Maybe its that I just pay ATTENTION to them and notice when something isn't right rather than ignoring it and hoping it goes away. I know every inch of my dogs. I know in an instant when something isn't right.

So, NO, I don't like my dogs to be sick. Especially what happened to Sammy. That was hell. Pure hell. Please, don't put everyone with sick dogs into one basket.smile
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