Milo 2.0: A second case of upside down paws treated at Oklahoma State’s Veterinary College
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Media Contact: Derinda Blakeney | College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 | firstname.lastname@example.org
In early 2019, Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine made international headlines with its treatment of “Milo,” an adorable foxhound puppy who was born with the rare condition of front paws facing upward instead of downward.
At OSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH), Milo met Dr. Erik Clary, a small animal surgeon, who performed corrective surgery that proved quite successful. Months after surgery, the public interest in Milo’s situation remained intense to the point of prompting a news conference at OSU to report Milo’s recovery to his fans far and wide.
So when, this past May, a Dallas animal rescue group came into possession of “Siggi,” a sweet rat terrier puppy also with front paws upside down, they knew where to turn. At 13 weeks of age, Siggi made the trek to Stillwater with her caregivers to meet Dr. Clary.
“As with Milo, Siggi’s problem looked like it was in the paws but it was actually in her elbows,” Clary said. “For reasons not fully understood, these patients’ elbows come out of joint early in life and the result is 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.”
At the VTH, little Siggi, who weighed only four pounds at the time, received a 64-slice CT exam that gave Clary and his team important information on the shape and alignment of her limb bones.
“Unlike Milo, Siggi had significant deformity of the bones in the lower part of her elbow complicating the joint issue," Clary said. "The CT helped us plan a more complex procedure that would require an intentional break high up in her ulna bone to de-rotate the limb.”
On May 12, Clary performed the surgery to bring Siggi’s paws into proper orientation. The elbows were protected with splints and an orthopedic fixator device while Siggi’s ulna bones took the necessary time to heal. On June 29, Siggi returned to the VTH for a scheduled checkup.
“With that checkup, we confirmed the bone healing with X-ray exam and then removed Siggi’s splint for good," Clary said. "At that stage, the task then became one of teaching her how to walk and she proved a fairly quick learner. 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. Truly, I could not be more pleased with Siggi’s progress.”
Reflecting upon Siggi’s care and Milo’s impact, Clary commented, “Siggi found care and came to OSU’s VTH because Milo’s story was shared beyond our walls. Back in 2019, I learned firsthand what ‘going viral’ meant as Milo’s story was picked up from the OSU newswire and distributed across the globe. I never expected anything like it, but once it was unfolding, I purposed to deliver the message that as severe as a pet’s condition may seem, it may still be within the reach of veterinary care.
"Milo has brought much joy to many people and I expect the same will be true of Siggi thanks in part to the efforts of the veterinary college’s public relations and marketing coordinator, Derinda Blakeney, Jennie Hays (Milo’s owner), and many others who helped tell Milo’s story to a wide audience.”
Clary is an associate professor of small animal surgery and bioethics. He is a board certified surgeon and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.