This is the moment a cute puppy with ‘Swimmers syndrome’ learns to take a few steps during physiotherapy after it was abandoned with its mum and three similarly disabled siblings.
The mother pooch and four puppies, golden retriever cross breeds, were found in the woods by members of the Dumovec animal shelter near the village of Odranski Obrez in central Croatia at the end of May.
They were checked by a vet who confirmed that all four puppies had Swimmers syndrome, also known as swimming-puppy syndrome and flat-pup syndrome, a rare developmental deformity where the limbs, primarily the hind limbs, are splayed laterally resulting in an inability to stand or walk.
Doctor of veterinary medicine and shelter manager Tatjana Zajec told Newsflash: “We rescued the mum and puppies after being told they were in the woods in Odranski Obrez.
“They were four weeks old when they arrived which coincides with the appearance of the syndrome’s first symptoms.
“The person who had them probably noticed that and immediately threw them out so we wanted to help them.
“There isn’t a lot known about swimming-puppy syndrome, but it usually occurs in breeds of smaller dogs such as bulldogs.”
The director of Zagreb Zoo where the shelter is based, Damir Skok, said in a press release sent to Newsflash: “It is a developmental anomaly that is not common. If it occurs in a litter, the syndrome usually affects one or two puppies.
“The puppy’s muscles are not strong enough so its legs lie laterally next to its body. The animal cannot put weight on its legs so it is unable to stand or walk.
“Due to the splayed position of its legs and its attempts to move, the puppy appears like it is swimming which is how the syndrome got its name.”
Veterinary medicine and rehabilitation expert Zoran Vrbanac told Newsflash: “Two puppies were in a bad condition and two were slightly better, but none of them could stand.
“Due to constantly lying on their tummies, they could have developed additional complications such as respiratory problems.”
The four puppies have all been rehabilitated and no longer have major issues with mobility, according to the shelter.
Along with their mother, the cute pooches, named Su, Lana, Lora and Loris, have all found forever homes after being adopted by caring families.
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