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Puppy born with deformed paw
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8 August 2010 - 3:19 pm
We are being considered to adopt a Golden puppy who was born with a deformed front paw from a reputable breeder who wants to find her a good home. 
We have adopted animals with disabilities before, and currently have a cat with radial hypoplasia, a congenital disability where the bones in his front legs didn't form completely,  so his legs are very short and the muscles and ligaments cause his arms to bend the wrong way. He also has large segments of his tail that are fused and do not bend. Roo jumps and runs, and gets along just fine, and he can stand on his back legs to box our other kitty.
While I was able to find a wealth of information online about dogs who had lost a leg to cancer, there doesn't seem to be much info out there about dogs born with a deformed leg / paw. Do you know of any place online I can find more information about congenital leg problems in dogs? Is there some sort of congenital disability that shows up in dogs similar to RH in cats?
The reason I want to find out more is that when my RH kitty was 16 months old, he suddenly went into congestive heart failure. He ended being rushed to Univ of Penn hospital, where the cardiologist told us he may not survive the night, but after a few days in the hospital he made an amazing recovery, and only needs yearly ultrasounds of his heart. The vet suspects that whatever went wrong to cause the problem with his legs not developing could have also caused his heart problems.
We are looking to adopt this puppy to train as a companion dog for our youngest daughter who has high functioning autism, so I want to make sure this puppy's deformity is not associated with other problems like heart disease that might shorten her life.
Here is  a web page that my girls put together with pictures of our special needs kitty:
Thank you for your help,
The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 17332
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25 April 2007
8 August 2010 - 3:26 pm

Kim, thank you for posting here. Please consider signing up as a member so your posts show up quickly without needing to be moderated.

Tripawds is a support for all  three-leggers, whether they are amputees because of cancer or birth defects or accidents. We have had quite a few here who were born Tripawds, like Little Buddy (also a Golden) and Comet, and I'm sure you'll be hearing from them soon!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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8 August 2010 - 3:27 pm

Sorry, here is the correct web address for pictures of our RH kitty:





The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 17332
Member Since:
25 April 2007
8 August 2010 - 3:31 pm

Hey I was just going to tell you that it was wrong....OMG Roo is adorable (as are your other furry kids and human kids to!). Roo qualifies as a Tripawd!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Forum Posts: 4386
Member Since:
14 August 2009
8 August 2010 - 3:50 pm

I just fixed your link on the first post so it's okay now.


Welcome Kim!

And let me say, bless you for adopting pets with disabilities!

I think that is terrific that you are getting a companion dog for your daughter.  It sounds like a golden is a perfect choice and since the puppy hasn't had any mental trauma, you will have a normal golden!  Buddy is normal in every way except that darned deformed paw!  But he actually uses his a bit.

If the puppy is healthy, you do not have to worry about any other congential problems when it's a birth defect!  It's typically a orthopedic problem only.  (I don't know for sure, but I would take the odds on it!)

Oh, don't I know there is no information on birth defects!  I've been looking for almost 12 years!  NONE.   I've even asked my vet if there were any studies done that I could read.  He knew of none.  So, I've been on my own all this time until I found tripawds!  And even if it is mostly cancer, it's still very good information! 

My Comet has a deformed shoulder blade and front left leg.  It's still attached.  The only issue we've had is her blowing out her back knees but that didn't happen until 6or 7 years old.  It's fixable with surgery and she had hers fixed.  But she also liked to dance and twirl on her back legs - which didn't help. 

Comet didn't come from a good background - she came from a "hoarder" of 22 dogs that neglected them.  She was impounded as a puppy and has been a skittish, scared dog.   She is so spoiled and sassy in her comfort zone and perfectly normal when no strangers are around. 

There is nothing stopping you from getting this little angel.  I promise. 

Let us know!

And check out Buddy's blog that admin has linked in above post.

Comet's mom

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011
She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.
She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.
The Rainbow Bridge

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Member Since:
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8 August 2010 - 4:22 pm

Thanks Comet, I was being lazy and am pooped from the pawty yesterday!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Wesley Chapel, FL
Forum Posts: 1104
Member Since:
13 September 2009
8 August 2010 - 6:21 pm

Hi Kim... Welcome to our Tripawds family!! I think you should definitely adopt that golden puppy... You already have given your hearts to your kittie Roo (OMG! I saw your website and Roo and your children... and all the critters are absolutely adorable!!) and that seems to have turned out great! Dogs with 3 legs can do very well! Just ask our own Cometdog!!

Angel Jake and Wolfie's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… ….. CANCER SUCKS!

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9 August 2010 - 1:44 pm

Leg deformities can occur for lots of reasons in dogs and most dogs with leg deformities do not have other issues.  I would make sure that a vet has examined the pup for a cleft palate and has listened to the heart since Goldens as a breed are predisposed to aortic stenosis (a heart valve problem) just to make sure.  Goldens in general can have more hereditary problems than other breeds including epilepsy, skin disease, and cancer (especially hemangiosarcoma) but they are very sweet and good family dogs.  This is a breed that you might consider purchasing pet insurance for but I am not sure if they would have exclusions due to the deformed leg.


Cleveland, OH
Forum Posts: 118
Member Since:
19 June 2010
10 August 2010 - 8:07 pm

I have a friend on another forum that had a dog with a paw deformaty (born with 4 legs, but 3 paws).  I know that the 'stumpy' paw didn't slow her dog down, she often would cover the deformed paw with an infant sock so it wouldn't get injured.  Her dog had spinal injuries due to abuse though and had a shortened life.  The paw thing did not slow her pup down one bit though.

~~~~ Denali ~~~~ June 9, 2010 OSA suspected June 17, 2010, July 14, 2010 Clear X-rays – no mets July 1, 2010 Amputation July 9, 2010 OSA Confirmed November 23, 2010 Cancer took you from me - Never forgotten, Always Loved - Forever Supporting the Fighters, Admiring the Survivors, Honoring the Taken, And never, ever giving up Hope
Forum Posts: 23
Member Since:
8 August 2010
13 August 2010 - 10:00 am

Our puppy is healthy! The puppy had a vet appointment this week with her breeder and everything is perfectly fine. Her only problem is a deformed paw. I am so happy to hear that. I know in dogs a paw can be deformed without any other problems, but I was just a little worried until I knew her heart checked out ok because of what happened with our RH kitty. In his case his deformed paws and his sudden heart failure and cardiomyopathy were probably realated.

We will be able to bring her home soon! I will let you know more when I know more.

Thank you so much for your help!


30 July 2011 - 4:42 pm


****** I adopted a puppy from angels for animals- a wonderful organization by the way. She has a deformedback leg and paw. I am not sure what to do myself. I have the option to get her surgery to fix it then I am going to, but they want to know this week if I am going to have it amputated. I just dont know what to do. I too found it hard finding anything about dogs born with a deformed leg or paw. Good luck to you and God bless. Tenley is my doggies name and she is wonderful. A real angel to have in my family. I also have a dachshund named Gia. They are the best. Gia has all four legs and loves to play with her new sister. Tenley gets around even better than most dogs and she loves to play. I just worry about her getting older, the leg growing and her hip formation. I dont want her to have problems in the future.

Here and Now

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30 July 2011 - 6:37 pm

Thanks for posting Amanda, please consider registering to take full advantage of these forums.

"Dogs are born with three legs and a spare."
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