A puppy named Skipper looks a little different from her litter mates, but her unique appearance is capturing the hearts of dog lovers around the globe.
That’s because the Aussie/Collie mix was born with with six legs and two tails! She also has duplicate organs from the waist down, which are all working and functioning as they should!
Veterinarians caring for Skipper say the six-legged puppy is “one of a kind” and truly a miracle.
“She is the first puppy ever that has been born alive with these special qualities,” writes her caregiver on the Skipper’s Journey Facebook page. Veterinarians have not found any other known cases of a puppy like Skipper surviving.
But how did Skipper happen to be born this way? Veterinarians think that sometime during development in her mother’s womb, one egg tried to split into a twin, but it didn’t quite work and Skipper is the result.
Born in Oklahoma with a litter of 8 siblings (the rest of the puppies are all healthy and normal), Skipper’s mom rejected her, so she was brought to Neel Veterinary Hospital when she was just a few days old for better medical treatment.
It’s hard to know how Skipper will develop as she grows, but for now she’s thriving and not in any pain or discomfort. One person asked Skipper’s Journey about Skipper’s future prospects. They wrote: “Does the vet believe she will have a good quality of life? Will you humanely euthanize if it seems she is struggling?” Skipper’s Journey’s response was, “ONLY if it comes down to it. We do not plan on putting her down since there is no indication she is in pain or will be. The vet says she should live a full happy life, [but] they aren’t sure of the future outcome yet so we are expecting a journey.”
Neel Veterinary Hospital went into further detail regarding Skipper’s condition. They wrote on Facebook:
“She has a type of congenital conjoining disorders called monocephalus dipygus and monocephalus rachipagus dibrachius tetrapus which simply means she has 1 head and chest cavity but 2 pelvic regions, 2 lower urinary tracts, 2 reproductive systems, 2 tails and 6 legs among other things. It is likely that she was going to have a litter mate but they did not separate in utero. She also has signs of spina bifida along her spine. Positively, her organs appear to be in great shape, she is peeing and pooping, and is very strong! She nurses well and is growing appropriately so far.”
Skipper’s caregiver confirms that Skipper is “doing great and that this past week “she was up all night crawling around and trying to climb everything.”