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Pup Born With Upside-Down Paws Has Life-Changing Surgery

Siggi the spotted rat terrier has finally learned to walk, and chase balls
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2021 9:20 AM CDT
Puppy's Upside-Down Paws Are Now Right Side Up
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/sanjagrujic)

(Newser) – A 7-month-old puppy with upside-down paws has gotten a new leash on life, thanks to a dedicated team of veterinary professionals at Oklahoma State University. CNN reports that Siggi, a spotted rat terrier, was "born an average puppy: sweet, cheerful, and extremely playful." But she'd also been born with a birth defect—those upside-down front paws, which left her unable to walk. That's until an animal rescue group in Dallas brought 13-week-old Siggi, who weighed just 4 pounds, to OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine in May, asking for help to remedy her unusual issue.

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In a release, Dr. Erik Clary explains that Siggi's actual problem was with her elbows, which popped "out of joint early in life," leading to "severe rotation of the lower front limbs and an inability to walk." Clary notes most dogs with this condition resort to "a crawl that seems most uncomfortable and is poorly suited for a dog's life." The reason the Dallas animal rescue group chose OSU to help Siggi: The college had done the same for a foxhound named Milo in 2019.

After a comprehensive 64-slice CT scan that laid out the alignment and shape of Siggi's bones, Clary performed surgery on May 12. "Unlike Milo, Siggi had significant deformity of the bones in the lower part of her elbow, complicating the joint issue," he says. Instead, a more complex procedure was used that involved an "intentional break high up in her ulna bone to de-rotate the limb."

Siggi was put in splints to heal, which were removed at the end of June, and she then started PT to learn to walk. "She proved a fairly quick learner," Clary says, noting that Siggi is now "doing many things that puppies like to do, including chasing a ball in the yard." He adds: "Truly, I could not be more pleased with Siggi's progress." As for what's up next for the pup: A Kansas woman is set to offer Siggi a forever home after her final checkup at OSU next month, per News on 6. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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