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Novel Cases: Malingering by Animal Proxy

NCJ Number
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Volume: 30 Issue: 4 Dated: 2002 Pages: 520-524
H. W. LeBourgeois, III M.D.; Tonya A. Foreman M.D.; John W. Thompson, Jr. M.D.
Ezra E.H. Griffith M.D.
Date Published
5 pages
This article reports on and examines five novel cases of malingering to obtain medications of abuse in a veterinary setting.
In the general medical setting, malingering to obtain mediations for purposes of drug abuse is well documented. The diagnosis of malingering is when a patient is suspected of intentionally producing false or exaggerated physical or psychological symptoms. This article addresses malingering in a veterinary setting, where pet owners report false symptoms in their pets to obtain drugs for personal use. Five novel cases of malingering in a veterinary setting were selected where the client or pet owner was suspected or confirmed to have taken the pet’s medication for personal use. These cases represent a novel form of malingering: by animal proxy and include the prescribed drugs; benzodiazepine, anabolic steroids, thyroid supplement, opiate, and antidepressant. There were striking similarities between the actions that characterize malingering to obtain medications for the purpose of drug abuse in the medical and veterinary settings. In this case series, the doses of medications all overlapped with doses used in humans. Doctors in all fields of medicine should be aware of the possibility of malingering by proxy in their practices. References


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