A puppy born with his front paws facing up instead of down and unable to walk is recovering after surgery at Oklahoma State University's Center for Veterinary Health Sciences.
Dr. Erik Clary said Friday that he's pleased with the progress of the 10-week-old dog named Milo. The 8-pound puppy had elbow surgery Jan. 9 in Stillwater.
Clary said Milo, apparently part beagle and coon hound, suffered from congenital elbow dislocation. Clary inserted pins in Milo's elbows to realign the joints and help the dog eventually learn to walk.
In nearly 30 years of performing surgeries, Clary said he's only seen three patients with Milo's rare condition, needing surgery that's "very complicated," he said.
"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," he explained.
Milo is now an orange, front body cast that prevents him from using his front legs. He'll be in it for about three weeks and then, Clary said, they'll take out the pins. "The hope is that by that time his body will have done what it needs to do to keep the elbows stable," he said.
After that, Milo is in for intensive rehabilitation therapy where he will learn how to walk.
"It's going to be a long haul," Clary said. "But if his elbows stay in place for the first three weeks after splint removal, he's got a good chance of losing the army crawl and being able to walk as dogs should."
An animal rescue group founder took Milo to the school and is caring for the puppy post-surgery. Jennie Hays, of the nonprofit Oliver and Friends Farm Sanctuary, said Friday that Milo was doing great and is a "very happy puppy."