Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On cloning

Wow, just wow. Has anyone seen the pet cloning TV show yet? Sorry, but there are just so many issues with cloning. I had a cloned patient when I was in vet school. She, while a fascinating and fun creatures, was seriously messed up. She might have looked like the original, but her ability to fight off diseases was pretty much in the toilet.

So, other than this cloned patient in vet school, I remember one other cloning procedure when I was in vet school. As with all vet schools, we mostly saw cases that had been through the primary vet and sometimes a secondary specialty hospital. However, there were some clients that were such frequent flyers with a few animals, that they felt like they could just bring in any animal, totally circumventing the whole referral process. This story is about one such client.


Client: crazy horder with about 20 animals that had been seen at one time or another by *some* service at our teaching hospital.

Clinician: A dermatology resident (yes, most dermatologists do not need to take call for clients)

Students: Motley crew of 4th year students towards the end of a long night on ICU duty

Setting: Emergency Service approximately 11 PM on "not a special night."


Dermatology resident: "I need a team to help me with a patient, the owner is almost here."

Students (imagine a Greek Chorus): "What is going on?" "What is the presentation?" "Who is this patient?" "Why is a dermatology resident at the hospital at 11 PM at night?"

Dermoid: "Patient is a 10 year old cocker. He has metastatic mast cell disease (cancer). And lymphoma (another cancer). And atopy (environmental allergies). And glaucoma. He is dying and the owner wants us to harvest tissues for cloning."

Students: "WTF??" "Are you kidding?" "Won't a clone have most of the same issues?" "Why is a dermatologist on call?"

Dermoid: "Yeah, I gave her my phone number after dealing with the skin issues from about 10 of her animals. She is a little special."

Students: "Gave her your phone number?" "WTF?" "She has how many animals?" "And this is a skin emergency, how???"

Client shows up sobbing wildly: "Be sure to get part of the brain and a piece of the liver!!!"

Students: "I think he is dead." "Will this affect the cloning process?" "Will this affect my grade?" "WTF is a dermatology resident doing in the ICU at 11 PM doing a NECROPSY???"

Dermoid: "Ok, so he is dead. Just cut some pieces off of him and bag them. I've gotta go get some sleep. I have to be here at 8AM."

Exit Dermatology resident

"So do we...."


  1. Is this comedy or tragedy? I can't decide.

  2. I don't doubt this is true. Why do I think this? One of my best friends, a general practice veterinarian, dealt with another hoarder/cloner who was lost to follow-up when she fled the authorities. Certifiable.