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Puppy born with inverted front legs learns to walk after successful surgery

Puppy born with inverted legs learns to walk after successful surgery

  • Siggi, a 13-week-old rat terrier, was born with a rare birth defect and could only crawl on her front elbows
  • In May, an animal rescue in Dallas, Texas, brought Siggi to Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • The school had experience with a similar case in 2019, when she performed surgery on Milo, a hunting dog who was also born with inverted front legs.
  • The procedure required surgeons to break Siggi’s leg bones and reorient them into position before securing them in place with splints.
  • After more than a month, doctors followed up and found that Siggi’s bones had healed and removed the fissures, allowing Siggi to learn to walk for the first time.










A puppy born with inverted front legs has learned to walk again after corrective surgery.

In May, an animal rescue group from Dallas, Texas, brought Siggi, a 13-week-old rat terrier with a rare birth defect, to Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The college had previous experience with a similar condition in early 2019 when the Veterinary Teaching Hospital successfully operated on a foxhound puppy named Milo, whose front legs were also turned upside down.

Media coverage of the procedure and Milo’s successful recovery led the group to turn to OSU to fix Siggi’s condition, which meant she could only crawl on her front elbows.

In May, surgeons at Oklahoma State University performed a corrective procedure on Siggi (pictured), a 13-week-old rat terrier, who was born with her front legs upside down.

In May, surgeons at Oklahoma State University performed a corrective procedure on Siggi (pictured), a 13-week-old rat terrier, who was born with her front legs upside down.

Due to her condition, Siggi could only crawl with her front elbows

Due to her condition, Siggi could only crawl with her front elbows

“Like Milo, Siggi’s problem seemed to be in her legs, but it was actually in her elbows,” said Dr. Erik Clary, a small animal surgeon at the hospital, in a press release.

“For reasons that are not fully understood, these patients’ elbows come out of the joint early in life and the result is severe rotation of the lower anterior limbs and an inability to walk.” The most they can afford is a crawl that seems most uncomfortable and ill-suited to a dog’s life.’

Siggi weighed just four pounds at the time and, unlike Milo, had an additional problem with her front legs.

After a CT scan, it was revealed that Siggi also had a deformity in part of her lower elbow, which complicated the surgery.

Siggi's surgery required vets to break her leg bones and reorient them into position

Siggi’s surgery required vets to break her leg bones and reorient them into position

In addition to her twisted legs, Siggi also had a deformity in her elbow bones

In addition to her twisted legs, Siggi also had a deformity in her elbow bones

After surgery, Siggi's legs were secured in place with pins and splints

After surgery, Siggi’s legs were secured in place with pins and splints

Iggy spent about the next six weeks in the splints to give her elbow bones time to heal

Iggy spent about 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 a deliberate fracture high in her ulna 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 restraining device while her bones healed.

When she returned to the hospital for a checkup on June 29, vets were able to deliver the good news.

“With that check, we confirmed bone healing with X-rays and removed Siggi’s splint for good,” Clary said.

With the help of a rehabilitation program developed by her foster carer, Siggi was able to learn to walk properly for the first time

With the help of a rehabilitation program developed by her foster carer, Siggi was able to learn to walk properly for the first time

Still a puppy, Siggi can now run around and play well, her surgeons happily reported

Still a puppy, Siggi can now run around and play well, her surgeons happily reported

OSU surgeons had performed a similar procedure in 2019 on Milo (pictured) a foxhound puppy who was also born with his paws turned upside down

OSU surgeons 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 operation, Milo was also able to walk on the site for the first time

Six months after his operation, Milo was also able to walk on the site for the first time

Then came the step to teach Siggi to walk properly for the first time in her life.

“She turned out to be a pretty quick learner,” Clary said, noting that her foster owner Lorraine had developed a rehabilitation regiment with the Dallas DogRRR rescue group that, “now allows Siggi to do many of the things that puppies love to do, including chasing a ball in the garden.’

Clary credited the university’s media team with bringing Milo out and letting them know that there are options for dogs with a condition as serious as Siggi’s.

“One of the reasons Siggi came to us was the previous work with Milo to just get the message out that there are opportunities for dogs with even what appears to be a very serious condition,” Clary said.

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