A spotted rat terrier puppy who was born with his paws upside-down received successful corrective surgery and is now learning how to walk, CNN reported on Sunday.
A team at US-based Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine was able to perform the successful surgery on Siggi the puppy by putting his paws in the proper downward position.
The surgery was performed only once before, the university said in a statement released on August 31. The first dog to undergo such a surgery was a Coonhound named Milo in 2019.
Siggi was brought to the university by a Dallas-based animal rescue group, hoping he would get the same successful treatment as Milo.
“As with Milo, Siggi’s problem looked like it was in the paws, but it was actually in her elbows,” VTH animal surgeon Dr. Erik Clary was quoted as saying in a press statement.
“For reasons not fully understood, these patients’ [Milo and Siggi] 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,” he added.
The surgery that Siggi had to undergo was more complicated than Milo’s as he had a “significant deformity in the bones in the lower elbow,” a CT scan showed, according to Dr. Clary.
The surgery involved an “intentional break high up in her ulna bone to de-rotate the limb,” he said.
Siggi received her first treatment on May 12 after her elbows were placed in splints and an orthopedic fixator device as the bones healed. After a few weeks, the puppy’s bones were strong enough for rehabilitation, so she was able to start learning how to walk again.
Clary said that the puppy was a “fairly quick learner” and was “doing many things that puppies like to do, including chasing a ball in the yard.”
He attributed Siggi’s happy ending to the university’s marketing team that successfully spread the message of Milo’s success story.
“Siggi found care and came to OSU’s VTH because Milo’s story was shared beyond our walls. Milo has brought much joy to many people, and I expect the same will be true of Siggi,” he said.