Recently a puppy was whelped with peculiar hind legs which resembled flippers. The first reaction was to send it to heaven. It appeared to have flat boneless legs from hock to toes which bent the wrong way, with flat and puffy "club" feet. Fortunately, a veterinarian with toy dog experience volunteered to hand rear this "deformed" puppy. Instead, its breeder, who also has considerable experience with rearing sporting and terrier breeds, decided to keep "Paws" with her littermates, and hung up a horseshoe over the puppy pen.
Within a week the legs and feet became a normal shape. Apparently the flat, fat flipper appearance had been caused by edema either in utero or in the birth canal. By the second week, the hock joint developed and bent correctly, with the legs gradually coming to a normal position by the third week.
Today at 10 weeks, "Paws" is an active, sturdy puppy who negotiates stairs and moves with determined soundness. There are no signs of hock weakness or trace of the flipper syndrome.
ANTIC, Spring 1987
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