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Puppy pregnancy in humans: a culture-bound disorder in rural West Bengal, India.

by A N Chowdhury, Himadri Mukherjee, Kumar Kanti Ghosh, Shyamali Chowdhury
The International journal of social psychiatry ()

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Delusion of pregnancy in males, though uncommon, has been reported in the literature. Delusion of animal pregnancy in humans is unreported until now, and we are reporting here cases of puppy pregnancy in human beings from a part of rural West Bengal, India. MATERIAL: Studies of six male cases and one female case of delusion of puppy pregnancy after an alleged touch or bite of a dog are presented. DISCUSSION: Detailed phenomenological analysis revealed that there exists a strong cultural belief that dog bite may evolve into a puppy pregnancy even in the human male. Psychiatric status showed that there was a clear association of obsessive-compulsive disorder in two cases, anxiety-phobic locus in one and three showed no other mental symptom except this solitary false belief and preoccupation about the puppy pregnancy. All the cases were from rural areas and their communities endorse this pathogenic event of puppy pregnancy in humans. One case (11-year-old child) exemplified how the social imposition of this cultural belief made him a case that allegedly vomited out an embryo of a dog foetus. CONCLUSION: Although the belief in puppy pregnancy is culturally shared, the cases presented a mix of somatic and psychological complaints and their help-seeking behaviour was marked. These features prompted us to identify this phenomena as a culture-bound disorder which needs proper cultural understanding for its effective management.

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