Puppy born with upside-down paws learns to walk after successful operation
- Siggi, a 13-week-old rat terrier, was born with a rare birth defect and as a result could only muster a crawl on her front elbows
- In May, a Dallas, Texas-based animal rescue brought Siggi to the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine
- The school had experience with a similar case in 2019, when it performed an operation on Milo, a foxhound who was also born with upside-down front paws
- The procedure required surgeons to break Siggi’s leg bones and reorient them in the correct position before securing them in place with splints
- After more than a month, doctors followed up and found Siggi’s bones had healed, and removed the splits, allowing Siggi to learn to walk for the first time
A puppy born with upside-down front paws has learned to walk again after undergoing corrective surgery.
The college had previous experience with a similar condition in early 2019 when its Veterinary Teaching Hospital successfully operated on a foxhound puppy named Milo whose front paws were also turned upside down.
Media coverage of the procedure, and Milo’s successful recovery prompted the group to turn to OSU to fix Siggi’s condition, which meant she could only muster a crawl on her front elbows.
In May, surgeons at the Oklahoma State University performed a corrective procedure on Siggi (pictured), a 13-week-old rat terrier, who was born with her front paws turned upside down
As a result of her condition Siggi was only able to muster a crawl using her front elbows
‘As with Milo, Siggi’s problem looked like it was in the paws but it was actually in her elbows,’ Dr. Erik Clary a small animal surgeon with the hospital said in a news release.
‘For reasons not fully understood, these patients’ elbows come out of joint early in life and the result is severe rotation of the lower front limbs and an inability to walk. At most, they might muster a crawl that seems most uncomfortable and is poorly suited for a dog’s life.’
Siggi only weighed four pounds at the time, and unlike Milo, had an additional problem with her front legs.
After a CT scan, it was revealed Siggi also had a deformity in part of her lower elbow, complicating the surgery.
Siggi’s surgery required veterinarians to break her leg bones and reorient them into the proper position
In addition to her twisted paws, Siggi also had a deformity in her elbow bones
After the surgery Siggi’s legs were secured in place with pins and splints
Iggy spent roughly the next six weeks in the splints to give her elbow bones time to heal
‘The CT helped us plan a more complex procedure that would require an intentional break high up in her ulna bone to de-rotate the limb,’ Clary said.
Siggi’s surgery was performed on May 12, and the puppy’s elbows were secured with splints and an orthopedic fixator device, while her bones healed.
When she returned to the hospital on June 29 for a checkup, veterinarians were able to deliver the good news.
‘With that checkup, we confirmed the bone healing with X-ray exam and then removed Siggi’s splint for good,’ Clary said.
With the help of a rehabilitation program developed by her foster caretaker, Siggi was able to learn to walk properly for the first time
Still a puppy, Siggi is now able to run around and play properly, her surgeons happily reported
Surgeons at OSU had performed a similar procedure in 2019 on Milo (pictured) a foxhound puppy who was also born with his paws turned upside down
Six months after his surgery and Milo was able to walk property for the first time as well
Next came the step of teaching Siggi to walk properly for the first time in her life.
‘She proved to be a fairly quick learner,’ Clary said, noting that her foster owner Lorraine with the rescue group Dallas DogRRR had developed a rehabilitation regiment that, ‘now has Siggi doing many things that puppies like to do, including chasing a ball in the yard.’
Clary credited the university’s media team for getting the word out about Milo, and letting people know that there options for dogs with a condition as severe as Siggi’s.
‘One of the reasons Siggi came to us was just the prior work with Milo just being able to get the message out that there are possibilities for dog with even what seems to be a very serious condition,’ Clary said.