PHOTO: Dog Born With Upside-Down Paws, Gets Corrective Surgery

by Taylor Cunningham

A rat terrier named Siggi that born with upside-down paws, but a vet gave the dog a chance at a normal life when he performed corrective surgery. And now, three months later, Siggi has learned how to walk.

A Dallas-based animal rescue group took the pup to Oklahoma State University’s Teaching Hospital when she was only 13 weeks old to meet Dr. Erik Clary. Siggi’s paws were upside down, and the puppy couldn’t walk. The hospital had recently successfully operated on a dog named Milo with a similar deformity.

Milo became famous after he was born with a rare condition that caused his paws to face the wrong direction. Dr. Clary was able to fix Milo’s paws with a simple surgery, and according to OSU, he became internet famous. Because who doesn’t love a feel-good story about a puppy?

So when the rescue group found Siggi, they remembered the tale of Milo. They hopped a plane to Oklahoma hoping Dr. Clary could work the same miracle on Siggi. But after examining the puppy, Dr. Clary discovered that, unlike Milo, she actually had an issue with her elbows.

“For reasons not fully understood, these patients’ elbows come out of joint early in life, and the result is a 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 wrote.

Siggi the Dog Learns to Walk

However, Dr. Clary was still able to correct Siggi’s paws. On May 12th, the hospital performed a procedure with an “intentional break high up in her ulna bone to de-rotate the limb.” Dr. Clary sent the puppy home with splints and casts on her front legs and hoped for the best. After a follow-up visit a month and a half later, Dr. Clary said Siggi’s bones had healed, and they removed the casts. Then came the hard part. Siggi had to learn how to walk. But after three months of working with her medical foster home, she’s doing great.

“At that stage, the task then became one of teaching her how to walk, and she proved a fairly quick learner,” Clary said in a press release. “Lorraine, her medical foster with Dallas Dog RRR, did a fabulous job implementing an incremental rehabilitation regimen that now has Siggi doing many things that puppies like to do, including chasing a ball in the yard.” 

Dr. Clary said he learned “first-hand” what going viral meant. And because of Milo’s story, the animal rescue group knew where to take Siggi. Dr. Clary hopes to “deliver the message that as severe as a pet’s condition may seem, it may still be within the reach of veterinary care.”