Pomeranian born with male and female genitalia is healthy and looking for a home after surgery

By Helin Jung
August 11, 2010 11:45 AM

When a young, energetic Pomeranian was brought into the San Bernardino, Calif., City Animal Shelter last month, a veterinary technician noticed something that looked like an open wound in the dog’s lower abdomen. He thought someone might have taken a small knife and cut into the dog’s flesh – until he realized he was looking at a hermaphrodite.

The pooch, now known as Red, had partially formed female and male genitalia – a clitoris, testicles, but no penis and no ovaries.

The shelter, which has an 83 percent kill rate, gave the little dog a shot at survival. It contacted the Helping Every Animal League, where founder Sharon Blechinger sought medical treatment for Red.

“His clitoris was exposed to the elements and the muscle in his abdomen was exposed,” Dr. Marc DiCarlo, a member of HEAL’s board of directors tells PEOPLEPets.com. At his practice at the Animal Care Wellness Center, DiCarlo classified Red as a pseudo hermaphrodite, a condition that he estimates affects 1 in 100,000 dogs.

To reduce Red’s health risks, an operation was needed. Blechinger paid $1,165 out of pocket to help, while Dr. James Felts, a colleague in nearby Orange County, provided his services for about a third of the cost.

In what is called a gender reassignment surgery, all of Red’s genitalia and sex organs were removed, but DiCarlo says they “didn’t reassign anything. We didn’t change him from what he was.”

Now, Red is in the care of a foster parent and awaiting adoption, and he is no longer considered a special needs pet. He is “a wonderful little dog,” says Blechinger. “He’s quite a character. You would not even know anything was wrong with him, even right after surgery.”

Interested parties can apply to adopt Red through HEAL’s website, FriendsofHeal.org.

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