Sometimes dogs are born a little different, with disabilities that can make life difficult for them. But sometimes these dogs just need a little human kindness — someone willing to step up and give them the care they need.
Like one dog, who was born with a rare condition in which her paws were upside-down, making walking a painful ordeal — until a team of vets gave her a life-changing surgery.
Siggi, a 13-week-old rat terrier, was born with congenital elbow luxation, a rare medical condition that caused her paws to face upwards.
“It’s a congenital problem, where her elbows came out of joint early on in life,” Dr. Erik Clary, an animal surgeon at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine told CNN.
“It definitely wasn’t just an illusion. It was real,” he told Daily Paws. “Siggi’s paws really were upside down.”
The condition made it impossible for Siggi to walk normally. To get around, she had to crawl using her wrists for support.
“It definitely is an issue with respect to their quality of life,” Clary says. “They just can’t get around well, and on top of that, they’re prone to hurting the tops of their wrists because those aren’t designed for weight bearing.”
Luckily, there was hope for this dog. Siggi ended up in the care of Oklahoma State University because they had previously had success treating a foxhound named Milo, who also had upside-down paws.
The surgery was Siggi’s best chance at a better life, although it was no easy treatment. The procedure involved breaking Siggi’s bones, then realigning them by supporting them with splints and orthopedic pins.
And the surgery was not without unexpected complications. According to the Daily Mail, a CT scan revealed a deformity in Siggi’s lower elbow.
The vets performed the surgery in May, and a follow-up checkup a month later revealed that the procedure had been a success: Siggi’s bones had healed properly, a major step towards giving this dog a normal life.
“With that checkup, we confirmed the bone healing with X-ray exam and then removed Siggi’s splint for good,” Clary told Daily Mail.
Siggi then began recovery and rehabilitation in a foster home via the rescue group Dallas DogRRR. Amazingly, it didn’t take long for her to get “back on her feet.”
“She proved to be a fairly quick learner,” Clary said. “Now [Siggi is] doing many things that puppies like to do, including chasing a ball in the yard.”
“Siggi’s recovery isn’t complete in the sense that there’s continued rehab, but she’s continued to make progress,” he told Daily Paws.
As Siggi continues her miraculous recovery, the vet staff who changed her life are happy they could prove yet again that there is hope for all dogs, even ones with rare medical conditions.