calvin owensby’s 3-week-old chihuahua puppy precious walks with a limp – but not because of an injury. she has to drag a fifth leg between her hind legs, which protrudes from her stomach. that leg also has six toes.
owensby said he noticed the fifth leg immediately when precious was born, and it shocked him.
“when it came out, it kept coming out, and the foot came out with it,” owensby said. “it surprised me. i didn’t know what to do.”
he said he immediately called the pet hospital in bessemer city. veterinarian john lastellay told owensby he had never seen such a defect. lastellay recommended putting the puppy to sleep, owensby said, but he refused.
“i said, ‘no, you ain’t gonna kill it,'” owensby recalled. “i didn’t want to put it to sleep because that’s something unusual. i’m gonna keep it.”
precious belongs to a litter of five. owensby plans to give the other four puppies to family members.
lastellay told the gazette he might be able to amputate the extra leg when precious gets bigger – at least 4 to 6 months old – but he cannot help her right now. though he has never seen a dog with a fifth leg before, he said he sees similar “genetic abnormalities” from time to time.
“i guess if you practice long enough you’ll see everything,” he said.
lastellay said a normal amputation for a dog weighing less than 30 pounds costs $250 to $300, but he has no idea what kind of procedure precious would require. since owensby is currently unemployed, he said he’ll only go through with the amputation if he can pay in installments.
“if they want the money up front, she’ll just have to live with it, i guess,” he said.
precious’ mother, a 2-year-old chihuahua named baby, had never given birth to puppies before this litter. owensby said she’s recovering quickly, though she stays awake most of the night with her puppies.
“she won’t go to sleep until they do,” he said.
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