Dog born with upside down paws receives life changing surgery

Dr. Erik Clary holds a puppy born with upside down paws.
Dr. Erik Clary holds a puppy born with upside down paws.

To say Milo is special is quite the understatement.

At eight weeks old, most puppies are running around playing with their brothers and sisters. Milo didn’t have the chance to be a normal puppy.

He was born with his elbows dislocated, which caused both front paws to face up instead of down. In the words of Erick Clary, an associate professor of small animal surgery at the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, “The best he could do was an inefficient and seemingly uncomfortable ‘army crawl’.”

Clary, along with a team of surgeons at Oklahoma State University, performed the surgery to reorient Milo’s paws shortly after he was dropped off at an animal rescue shelter.

In over 30 years of performing surgeries, Clay said he’s only seen Milo’s condition three times before. The rarity of the condition can make a difficult procedure even more complicated.

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 .

Dr. Erik Clay

Fortunately for Milo and Dr. Clay’s team at Oklahoma State, the surgery was a success. Milo is now sporting a pair of bright orange casts on his front two legs. Doctors estimate that he’ll be unable to use his front legs for about three weeks. After allowing time for the legs to heal, Milo’s surgeons will go back and remove the pins that they placed during the operation.


From there, Milo will be in for special physical therapy where he will learn to walk for the first time. This is sure to be a difficult process for Milo, but Dr. Clay is hopeful.

“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.”

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