Puppy pregnancy syndrome

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Puppy pregnancy syndrome is a psychosomatic illness in humans brought on by mass hysteria.

The syndrome is thought to be localized to villages in several states of India, including West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh, and has been reported by tens of thousands of individuals.[1] It is far more prevalent in areas with little access to education.[1]

People suffering from this condition believe that shortly after being bitten by a dog, puppies are conceived within their abdomen.[1] This is said to be especially likely if the dog is sexually excited at the time of the attack.[2] Victims are said to bark like dogs and have reported being able to see the puppies inside them when looking at water or hear them growling in their abdomen.[1][2][3] It is believed that the victims will eventually die – especially men, who will give birth to their puppies through the penis.[2][3]

Witch doctors offer oral cures, which they claim will dissolve the puppies, allowing them to pass through the digestive system and be excreted "without the knowledge of the patient".[1][2]

Doctors in India have tried to educate the public about the dangers of believing in this condition.[3] Most sufferers are referred to psychiatric services, but in rare instances patients fail to take anti-rabies medication in time, thinking that they are pregnant with a puppy and thus the witch doctor's medicine will cure them. Since rabies is so deadly, this is a very dangerous idea.[1][2] This is further compounded by witch doctors stating that their medicine will fail if sufferers seek scientific treatment.[1]

Some psychiatrists believe that the syndrome meets the criteria for a culture-bound disorder.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rahman, Shaikh Azizur (December 31, 2012). "Medicine challenges Indian superstition". Deutsche Welle World. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bering, Jesse (November 15, 2011). "Puppy Pregnancy Syndrome: Men Who Think They Are Pregnant with Dogs". Scientific American. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Achin, Kurt (March 26, 2012). "Bizarre Medical Myth Persists In Rural India". Voice of America. Retrieved March 26, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Chowdhury, A.N..; Mukherjee, Himadri; Ghosh, Kumar Kanti; Chowdhury, Shyamali (March 2003). "Puppy pregnancy in humans: a culture-bound disorder in rural West Bengal, India". The International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 49 (1): 35–42. doi:10.1177/0020764003049001536. PMID 12793514.