This was told to us by our surgery professor during our 2nd or 3rd year of veterinary school. It should have been an early hint about what we would deal with as veterinarians.
The surgery service at our school was presented with a privately owned pet adolescent female cougar (about 1 year old). She had suffered severe burns to her gums and mouth - so bad that they required surgical intervention. The wounds appeared to have been caused by a caustic substance, so the surgeon sat down to chat with the owners.
The story unfolded as follows: the cougar had become "mouthy" as she aged. She had started "teething" on the ONE YEAR OLD child in the house, gnawing on his arms and such. The owners decided, in their infinite wisdom, to stop this behavior. They applied Icy-Hot to their arms and encouraged the cougar to bite them. If you have ever used Icy-Hot on your skin, you can imagine how it would feel on your mucus membranes. It burns. Hence, the burns in the cougar's mouth.
You might think they couldn't get stupider, but there's more.
The surgery department went in and fixed the damage, doing skin grafts around the lips, debriding the necrotic oral tissue, etc. The cougar recovered normally, but when all was said and done, the owners were not pleased. They complained that the repair was not cosmetically appealing. The surgeon was dumbfounded. Why did it matter if it was perfect cosmetically?
"Well," the owner replied, "we have a male in the house too, and we're going to breed them and sell the cubs. If people see the female cougar, they might think she was born that way."
My surgeon professor said that she offered to adopt the ONE YEAR OLD CHILD out of the house, so that it wouldn't be killed in the near future.
Talk about stupid.
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