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Puppy with swimmers syndrome, turned out paws, & extended hind legs

January 10th, 2006, 09:37 AM
I found this site because I was searching for information about my 3 week old puppy. He has lots of problems, and we weren't willing to put him down. Let me start from the beginning...
We live in Lake Charles, where RITA hit. Our Siberian Husky got loose and came back to us expecting. Three weeks ago, she had 5 beautiful puppies. She had 2 males and 3 females. They all look exactly like her, so the father must look like her or pretty close.Their noses are alittle pug, so we are thinking the dad might be some type of bull dog the same color as Sasha.
One of my males has lots of problems. Although he looks and acts healthy, his is deformed. I have been e-mailing for help.
He has extended hind legs. He has swimmers syndrome. His front paws are turned outwards. His front paws look like a seals.
We named our puppy Chance, because we want to give a chance to live a happy life. He is so sweet & loving! So, don't write back telling me to kill him!
I have found, with help from Colleen in Cananda, a site that gives help with swimmer's syndrome. However, I can't find anything out about the outward turned paws. We have brought him to vet, and will bring him back soon for x-rays. I have a feeling he will need surgery to fix the paws.
Colleen is working on getting him to Auburn University for help! Thanks Colleen from Cananda!
Our other problem is the money involved in this type of surgery. Is there anything out there will will help with expenses?
We love our puppy and want him to be happy, helathy, & pain free.
Any suggestions?

January 10th, 2006, 09:54 AM
The financial burden will probably be on you. I don't know about the states but I would doubt that you would get that kind of help here.
Now when my daughter was born the top half of her foot was turned inward and seeing that they are very flexable when they are babies they put her feet into casts and then molded them to the correct position, every few weeks they would be taken off and then re-applied until they were fixed. I would assume that you would be able to have a similar procedure done with a puppy.

January 10th, 2006, 10:00 AM
here is what i found...

"The term swimmer is used to describe a puppy that paddles its legs much like a turtle but is unable to stand. A puppy should be standing and walking by three weeks of age. As a result of weak muscles in the rear limbs, swimmers are generally unable to stand at the normal age.

What are the symptoms?

The only symptom of a swimmer puppy is its inability to stand or walk by the normal age of three weeks. The puppy will instead lay on its chest and paddle its feet as if attempting to swim in a turtle-like fashion. Most swimmer puppies will recover with time.

What is the management?

Slippery floors may worsen or in some cases may even cause swimmer puppies. This is not always the case because swimmer puppies are also seen when a rough surface is used for raising puppies. In any event, an affected puppy should be placed on a rough rather than slippery surface.
Puppies should not become overweight as this may further the weakness in the rear limbs. Most swimmer puppies will develop to normal functioning by eight weeks of age if treated early and placed on flooring with good traction.
Since there may be a hereditary component to this condition, dogs who were swimmer puppies would not be optimal breeding animals.

A swimmer pup can be hobbled by attaching tape around its legs in a figure eight, allowing enough play in the tape that the pup can move them. In this way the legs are drawn together more allowing the puppy to stand and take a few steps. Also 2 - 2X4s about 6 feet long can be placed about 4 inches apart side by side then place the pup inbetween them with someone at the end calling the puppy and trying to get it to move between the boards. I keep imitation sheepskin in the whelping box with old towels bunched underneath to make hills and valleys, this helps to strenthen the legs."

good luck with the little one! :fingerscr

January 10th, 2006, 07:46 PM

Welcome Tijiie I havent heard of swimmers syndrome but I did find some info on the net for you. It sounds like with proper treatment your pup should be okay.

Best of luck to you.

Lucky Rescue
January 10th, 2006, 08:02 PM
There is an organization in the US that will help people with vet care if they are in financial difficulties. I don't know if this extends to litters you bred yourself.

You can try them here to see if they can help:

January 10th, 2006, 08:08 PM
Tijie, just wanted to add that you are being very responsible taking care of this pup like you do. :thumbs up

Please, after this whole thing is over, make sure you have your female spayed to avoid another unexpected litter...

Good luck !

March 8th, 2006, 05:42 AM
I too have a puppy that appears to have this syndrome (swimmers). The vet could not diagnose, but I spoke to someone who advises vets and he knew right away about the condition.

He certainly did not give me much hope, but I am convinced that I can save this little guy. He is quite heavy so I will try to get him moving more. I took him outside yesterday and let him walk on pebbles, and that helped. I like the idea of the 2X4's. I thot of that last night. I took an old mat from my car that has little rubber spikes on the bottom. That gave him some grip, so may I will line the 2X4's with that.

Please write me if you have any other ideas. He is a golden retriver.... Not a little one. His brother is fine. It was a small litter. I see the arched back thing going on. I thot about putting a rolled up towel under him..???? any ideas?

March 9th, 2006, 10:19 PM
Sorry don't know much about the deformed paws but have heard of swimmers here in Scotland the remedy In the dog book I have is to give them calcium but also put them in water {warm} and let them swim it makes the legs stronger. I have looked at web sites also and they give conflicting advice one says let them have more feeds from the mother the other says less.Sometimes the internet is an nightmare as it does give conflicting advice I breed Rough Collies and would gibe it my best it is horrible to lose a baby good luck will be thinking about you