A JACK Russell terrier has become a Jill Russell after an awarding winning vet performed gender reassignment surgery.
Molly, who was born intersex – having both female and male genitalia – underwent the procedure after her owners noticed some strange behaviour.
Ross Allan, of The Pets’n’Vets Roundhouse Hospital in Glasgow, performed the tricky procedure which involved removing her male organs.
Molly’s owners took her to the vets after noticing her strange behaviour and discomfort around the house.
Ross explained: “Molly was what is defined medically as a male pseudo hermaphrodite or more commonly ‘intersex’.
“It is extremely uncommon, in the literature there’s about 15 cases that have been published in total, or reported.
“It is extremely extremely rare. In 15 years in this job I’ve seen this in Molly and no other dog at all.
“Speaking to others in the profession not many have come across it.”
Owners Mary and Frank Finlay, from Glasgow, first noticed something was amiss shortly after getting her in November 2015.
Frank said: “We got Molly in November 2015 and we believed her to be a bitch.
“I noticed that in the house she would squat to do her pees and outside she would lift her leg.
“I took her to one of Ross’ colleagues who in turn took her behind the scenes and came up with the probability she was a hermaphrodite.
“Eventually they did MRI scans and x-rays and she was operated on in May 2016. We still call her Molly.”
Mary added: “I actually started crying when the vet came through and told me because I thought it was some sort of cancer but they said no this can be sorted.
“We then went to see Ross and he was amazing. Molly was taking it in her stride but it was a worry because she was only six months old.”
Although Molly looked like a girl dog, according to Ross, her urethra followed the root of a male dog despite her not having a penis.
Ross said: “She had a remnants of one [a penis], but not a formed one. So she had the female external genitalia in a kind of male formation.
“As Molly was going through puberty she was beginning to behave more like a male dog but not having the correct anatomy and that was going to cause her more problems.
“We in effect performed the surgery to remove the vestigial male genitalia and created more a female kind of opening as it were in Molly’s groin.”
Acorrding to Ross – the 2017 BSAVA Melton Award winner for contributions to small animal practice – the surgery cost a total of £1000, however he added the cost didn’t refelct the value he placed on the operation.
Ross said: “The cost is one thing but the value placed on it is another. In total is was £1000 but it was something I wanted to do and to help Molly and her owners Mary and Frank.”
Speaking from her home in Glasgow, Mary Finlay revealed that Molly still cocks her leg like a boy dog despite the surgery.
She said: “Molly still does that. It’s taken a little longer to toilet train her but she’s not been affected by it at all. She still knows she’s a girl doggy though.”
Mrs Finlay said it took Molly a long time to recover from the extensive surgery.
Mary said: “She was tiny and was only six months old when she had the surgery.
“When we got her back she was so tired, her wee face was drawn and she was shattered.
“Without people like Ross, wee doggies like Molly would be put down.”