Puppy born with upside-down paws undergoes life-changing surgery

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 22:00:36-05

STILLWATER, Okla. – A hound puppy that had a rough start to life is now getting the treatment he needs thanks to veterinarians at Oklahoma State University.

Milo was just 5 weeks old when he was surrendered to an animal rescue organization. Veterinarians knew something had to be done when they noticed that Milo's front paws were turned upside down.

“We evaluated Milo with our state-of-the-art CT scanner and identified his problem to be congenital dislocation of both elbows,” said Dr. Erik Clary, associate professor of small animal surgery. “With both elbows out of joint, Milo was unable to walk. Try as he may, the best he could do was an inefficient and seemingly uncomfortable ‘army crawl.’”

Clary said Milo's condition is very rare and very debilitating.

Milo underwent corrective surgery earlier this month at Oklahoma State University's Veterinary Medical Hospital.

“Milo’s surgery was complicated,” said Clary. “For each of his elbows, we had to go into the joint and restore the alignment. Then we placed a pin across the joint to keep it straight while his growing bones continue to take shape and his body lays down the internal scar tissue that will be needed for long-term stability. All in all, Milo was under anesthesia for about 3 to 3 ½ hours.”

For now, Milo is in a front body splint to prevent him from using his front legs. In about three weeks, veterinarians will remove the split and take out pins from Milo's legs. If his elbows stay in place for the first three weeks, he has a good chance at walking normally one day.

"He's loud, and he's opinionated but he's also so sweet and cuddly," said rescuer Jennie Hays. "He's just a great little puppy."

Hays runs Oliver & Friends Farm Rescue and Sanctuary in Luther. She said Milo was surrendered to her by a breeder, and they quickly learned of his rare condition.

"He wouldn't have had any quality of life past another month or two, so it was definitely required," Hays said.

For now, he's doing well but as you can imagine, it's hard on the little guy to stay still.

Though life has tried to knock him down, Hays says Milo is fighting back.

"Just his will to live. He loves life," she said.

Hays has not decided yet if Milo will be up for adoption when he recovers.

Surgery and rehab are estimated to cost the rescue more than $4,000.

If you'd like to donate to the rescue, you can visit their Facebook page.