Medical Definition of Hair of the dog

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hair of the dog: An alcoholic chaser reputed to relieve a hangover, usually needed the morning after imbibing too much alcohol. There is no scientific evidence as to the efficacy of this time-honored treatment for a hangover.

The saying originated in the belief that a cure for hydrophobia (rabies) or any disease contracted from a dog bite consisted of taking a hair of the dog that bit you and placing it in the wound.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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