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Munchausen by proxy

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  • Munchausen by proxy

    Interesting article...Has anyone every experienced or witnessed this with animals, specifically with horses?

  • #2
    My grandmother's Munchausen's by proxy killed my grandfather, so there's that. But my only experience with people doing it to animals would be my friend's mother, who also would victimize (?) my friend, and probably had just straight Munchausen's herself. Every animal they had had something wrong with it. Sometimes it was legitimate (police dog that failed out of training because it lost an eye due to infection), but most of the time it wasn't. It would always start with something innocuous, and then over time it seemed to turn into a real problem. The cat who had "sensitive paws?" As time went on the "sensitive paws" turned into a legitimate condition with the cat's feet. Kind of interesting, really. I know people can think themselves into real issues (ah heck, as a hypochondriac I do that all the time), but to see a person think an animal into a real issue was something I didn't even think was possible.


    • #3
      There was a crazy woman where I boarded once. Had a big Freisen that she was obsessed about. If someone mentioned worms/allergies/rabies, he had them. Anything someone said, he needed it...hock injections/chiro etc. She also thoroughly cleaned his sheath every single time she rode him. Tied up a wash stall for hours every day doing whatever. She was eventually asked to leave. I often wonder what happened to that poor horse.


      • #4
        I boarded with a woman who exhibited Munchausen by proxy with her animals. I've seen this woman through 3 horses and a half dozen cats; most of which are dead now. I've watched her acquire perfectly healthy adult animals, only for her to "discover" some serious medical malady shortly after she brings them home. She confided in me once that she had tens of thousands of dollars in veterinary debt and my first thought was that I was shocked the number wasn't higher.

        This woman is a highly trained surgical tech, fitting the profile described in the article perfectly. I think she is most likely a combination "doctor addict" and "help seeker," although I wouldn't be surprised if she was also actively inducing problems, consciously or unconsciously.

        The vet would be out multiple times a week for her animals. I can't even imagine how many times a day she called or texted him, because something was always NQR. The horses would also never truly recover from the litany of major issues they were continuously developing. The kind of thing were I'd leave the barn and her horses would be bright and happy, yet she'd show up within the hour to discover them thrashing violently with colic or crippled with injury. Yes, I know how suicidal horses can be... but this was far beyond the norm.

        That poor vet. Reading the article just now shed light on the realization of how she bad mouthed any veterinarian who tried to establish the described professional boundaries with her; she had a long list of people she "refused" to allow to treat her animals. I just thought she had ridiculously high standards, but looking back now, those vets just resisted the manipulation.

        The irony is that she's a vocal animal welfare proponent (think PETA extremist) and can be obnoxiously polarizing in her opposition to what she considers animal abuse. I wish she could realize how abusive her own actions are.
        Last edited by Texarkana; May. 4, 2017, 11:02 PM.
        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


        • #5
          I had one client with a ripping case of it.
          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


          • #6
            On here a few years ago, someone who worked at a vet clinic posted about a client who destroyed her cat- client repeatedly presented the cat with burnt paws, claiming the cat walked on hot stove burners. Friends, family would sometimes accompany client and it was apparent they knew what was going on but felt helpless. That story has haunted me, and I wonder how common it is.


            • #7
              Google Monica Thors. Be forewarned that the pictures that accompany many of the articles are heart breaking and a bit graphic.


              • #8
                Originally posted by datdog View Post
                Google Monica Thors. Be forewarned that the pictures that accompany many of the articles are heart breaking and a bit graphic.
                that was horrific to follow. Those poor horses, goat and cats.
                ~~Some days are a total waste of makeup.~~


                • #9
                  I've had a couple clients with it. It's very sad and difficult to deal with. Some people just can't hear, no there's nothing wrong with your pet. The most I would give was vitamins that couldn't hurt anyway. But they would always want antibiotics, which are dangerous to use willy-nilly. Or worse, pain medications. Uh-uh. Not happening.

                  I've met people with Munchausen not by proxy. They get so exhausting people end up abandoning them. It's very, very tragic.


                  • #10
                    I am always worried that the vet thinks I have this haha. I just consider myself as having bad luck and being super observant. I was actually happy the last time the vet came out and my horse wouldn't trot under saddle and threw a fit- I was like, "SEE!" I told you that there is something wrong with him! After some x-rays, injections, wormer and a feed change we seem to be doing better. Sigh.

                    MBP is pretty scary. I learned about it because it pops up here and there in my profession. Unfortunately we don't deal with it until it gets to a very severe case.


                    • Original Poster

                      Wow, very interesting stories! I sometimes wonder when I read stories of the horse or pet that never gets better. Maybe not that the person is intentionally making the pet ill, but that perhaps they relish the attention from others and the vets. I am sure some vets recognize this and maybe others don't. Maybe some don't care and are happy with the cash it brings in, who knows?!

                      I tend to think of the animal's needs over the person's. Part of the reason I stopped trying to make my younger guy better and decided to just let him be.


                      • #12
                        I have seen some stuff working for a vet for 20 years( very sadly retired now) Anyhow the only time I seen the vet that owned the practice lose it on a client was.... a lady that brought her dog in no less than once a week with endless imaginary ailments. This time her concern was his urine output was low. So the vet asked what did she mean its urine output was low. She explained how she leash walked the dog and collected any and all urine the dog peed, and then measured and recorded the amount daily.

                        He flipped on her and told her to leave her poor dog alone to go take a pee in peace, and that she was making him crazy. I guess he had just reached his limit. Because this was the guy that no matter how bad the crap was hitting the fan he could hold it together and get through the day. And this lady just needed to shove meds down the dogs throat daily or she wasn't happy. So she just had to find something to medicate it for.
                        Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley


                        • #13
                          Yup, more than I care to share; but, I also teach animal crime investigations so my numbers are a bit skewed. The point is it happens and unfortunately while not common, it's not rare either.
                          Ranch of Last Resort


                          • #14
                            Do a search on here for "Musical Jumper"


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DoubleTwistedWire View Post
                              Do a search on here for "Musical Jumper"
                              Didn't she become something like an animal control officer? I remember that whatever it was, it gave me chills.


                              • #16
                                I have encountered a few MBP people out there but the Munchausen's By Internet person was just as bad. She invented babies that hadn't been born yet and a child who never existed and "killed" them off. Talk about creepy.


                                • #17
                                  I knew a woman who systematically destroyed a wonderful horse with her MBP. It was awful to watch for everyone, including her vet.
                                  Mystic Owl Sporthorses


                                  • #18
                                    Sorry if this is an old thread no one wants revived; and as the daughter of a psychiatrist I do know that diagnosing [labelling] can be a form of abuse and control [correctly done, however, it can also set us on the path to dealing with some of this complex stuff].

                                    I became upset today when yet another FB post came up from from a horse friend who used to be my barn manager; who does need attention, and can be a bit of a stirrer, and I've often wondered, over the years, why it is that her [gorgeous, young, not inbred or chronically ill] w/b horses always seem to have an 'issue', usually around soundness.

                                    Its not bad MBP, as the creatures in her care do have phases of wellness; but with her young 4 y o mares there's always something NQR. And she posts about it, somewhat inappropriately; its inevitably a farrier issue, or a vet issue; or some query she actually the answer to as she knows the horse so much better than anyone else ... but there's a classic MBP element to it in that all the queries reflect her to be a serious, concerned, excellent horse manager, feeder, rider and carer, and the professionals around her as suspect, dodgy, and flawed.

                                    With her social media shared worries about her horses there's almost a kind of delirium of energy if there's something wrong with them. She's constantly critiquing her vet;farrier; chiro/physio and equine dentist shopping, and never seems to have a long relationship with anyone who might know more about her horses in one defined aspect than she does.

                                    I had no idea, in my moment of annoyance with her thousandth post on what was wrong with one of her young dressage mares, that this spookily apposite thread was already going. I feel reassured by that. Anyway, thank heavens for the Forum. Don't know where to go from here as her horses are being seemingly well brought up -- although they must be confused by the cavalcade of new humans who fix their feet and their bodies.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Gainer View Post
                                      There was a crazy woman where I boarded once. Had a big Freisen that she was obsessed about. If someone mentioned worms/allergies/rabies, he had them. Anything someone said, he needed it...hock injections/chiro etc. She also thoroughly cleaned his sheath every single time she rode him. Tied up a wash stall for hours every day doing whatever. She was eventually asked to leave. I often wonder what happened to that poor horse.
                                      OK I'll give you points for the sheath cleaning. That's pretty impressive. What I think I see most often is people who don't have very much experience. Very strictly going by the rules they believe are correct.

                                      but then I do see people who seem obsessed with curing there permanently lame horses. Animals been un sound for years. They are still going at it. I am pretty convinced that they don't want to healthy animal. They wanted an unwell animal to give them something to focus on.

                                      "Friend" me !



                                      • #20
                                        I knew someone that always had something wrong with her horses. And, it was always someone else's fault. It happened one too many times and I joked with someone that I thought she had MBP. Little did I know - until I read this article and thread - that it also exists with animals. This person lost her medical license and, ultimately, her horses were seized. I, of course, do not know with any degree of certainty that I was right when I made that joke. But, there were any number of occurrences that just didn't add up.