In 1954 Vladimir Demikhov shocked the world by showing a monster created surgically, it was a two-headed dog. The scientist created this animal in a lab on Moscow outskirts. He transplanted a head, shoulders and front legs of a puppy on a neck of an adult German shepherd.
Demikhov showed this dog to reporters from all over the world. Both heads breathed, played and simultaneously lapped milk from bowls. The second head always tried to bite the ears of the first one. These unique moments were filmed.
This operation was planned and realized by Demikhov despite prohibitions of the Health Ministry. Vladimir operated with his collaborator V.Â Gorianov in a basement of the Institute of Sklifosovsky, because there was no place in the Institute of Surgery for such experiments. The Soviet scientist made his experiments with a bad light, on wooden tables, using an old vacuum cleaner instead of a compressor. But then the whole world spoke about them. There were no appropriate conditions for the dogs care and the Demikhovs took the dogs to their home in a communal flat.
For only fifteen years Demikhov created twenty two-headed dogs. None of them lived for a long time, as they inevitably died because of the tissue rejection. One month was a record period for these dogs.
The scientist explained that these animals were connected by blood vessels, they had a mutual blood circulation. Moreover, a little dog had an ablated heart and lungs, so it lived due to respiration and blood circulation of a big dog. This strange experience was made in order to check whether it was possible to save a sick person by “connecting” him with a blood circulation of another person.
The main purpose of his experiments was to learn to transplant a human heart and lungs. In 1967 this goal was reached by another surgeon, Doctor Christian Barnard, however, many people admitted that Demikhov “paved” the way for the achievement of this goal. Barnard considered Demikhov his master during all his life.
By looking at this dog it’s hard to imagine that it has two hearts. But it is true. Doctor Demikhov listens carefully two hearts beating.
Demikhov walks with a dog named Grishka that had a transplanted second heart .
Demikhov can be considered as the founder of the world transplantology.