Stillwater, Oklahoma, Feb. 1, 2019 — Milo, a coonhound puppy born with upside-down paws, was released from Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences four days after his pin removal surgery. At 7 weeks of age, Milo first arrived at the Center’s Veterinary Medical Hospital with front paws facing upside down due to congenital dislocation of his elbow joints.
Associate professor of surgery and bioethics, Dr. Erik Clary, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgery (DACVS), and his team performed corrective surgery to realign Milo’s elbows, placing pins across each joint for temporary stability. Milo spent the next two and one-half weeks in a front body splint. While recuperating from the procedure, he won many hearts as his story quickly made its way into the mainstream media.
“He has become quite the celebrity,” said Dr. Clary.
On Jan. 28, the splints came off and the pins were removed. With elbow alignment holding steady, Milo next began working with the hospital’s rehabilitation team, led by Dr. Cara Blake, DACVS-SA, CCRT, to implement a course of therapy aimed at improving joint function, strengthening his limb muscles and teaching him how to walk.
“Due to Milo’s congenital deformity, he has never ambulated correctly,” explained Dr. Blake. “Because of his dysfunctional front limbs, he needed to modify both his front and back limb positioning to allow him to propel himself. This has resulted in abnormal body posture, decreased flexibility, significant muscle atrophy and weakness. He will need to be retrained on how to lie down, sit, and walk in a ‘correct’ fashion. Therapy will need to include improving muscle flexibility, reinforcing correct limb placement and strengthening the muscles.”
“With this next phase of treatment, there is much work to do and the outcome is still uncertain,” continued Dr. Clary. “Likely, it will be months before we can judge the final result. For now it is only stilted ‘baby steps’ with assistance. For a dog that couldn’t walk, that’s certainly progress, but we hope for more in the weeks ahead.”
Milo’s condition is very rare. In his 27 years of doing surgery, Dr. Clary said he has seen only three patients like this. Commenting on Milo, he observed “It has been a privilege to serve Milo and his caretaker Jennie Hays of Oliver and Friends Farm Rescue and Sanctuary. Milo is a wonderful creature who has touched many lives. He has also helped us educate a wide audience on the condition and its treatment possibilities.”
Reflecting further upon the experience, Hospital Director Jeff Studer, DVM, DACVO, commented, “Milo’s care offers a great example of the level of care available to our pets today. The collaborative effort of Milo’s family veterinarian and our team of board-certified specialists and nurses in veterinary surgery, radiology, anesthesia and rehabilitation therapy is shaping the future, not only for Milo, but for all of veterinary medicine.”
If you would like to help support Milo’s road to recovery, please contact Oliver and Friends Farm Rescue and Sanctuary at 405-655-9885. Donations to the nonprofit organization located in Luther, Oklahoma, are tax deductible.