Vets Say A Rare Condition Is Causing More And More Dogs To Walk Around In A Strange Manner

The men and women who work with animals for a living are used to seeing it all. Rescue dogs especially can suffer from some unusual maladies, and the people who care for them are hardly, if ever, shocked by a condition or injury. Every so often, however, there are some things that still surprise them.

Animal control officer Julie LeRoy recently set out for what she assumed would be a routine call to pick up a dog. When Julie finally met up with the people who were keeping the animal, she was shocked at what she saw… and that was only the beginning.

As dog owners, we want to know our furry friends are as healthy and happy as possible. Besides only wanting the best for our beloved companions, caring for animals with health problems can be difficult.

That being said, there’s absolutely no reason a dog with a special condition—who may look different from others—can’t be provided with proper care and affection! That was certainly the case with one sweet dog named Cuda…

When animal control officer Julie LeRoy responded to a call about the abandoned puppy, she realized she was unlike any she’d ever encountered. Cuda had a serious underbite (just like her namesake), and that wasn’t all…

Julie knew if she didn’t adopt her, the dog would likely be euthanized. So, that’s exactly what she did! As soon as she brought Cuda home, the dog immediately fell asleep next to her cats. Julie immediately knew Cuda felt safe in her new dwelling, despite her strange deformity…

At first, Julie’s husband was hesitant about adopting Cuda since the couple already owned several pets, but after spending some time with her, he knew it was the right choice for their family. Cuda didn’t take long to warm up to them, either!

Julie began to research Cuda’s strange appearance, which she suspected had to do with inbreeding. She began a Facebook page in hopes it would lead to some information about Cuda’s condition…

Still trying to understand her adopted pup, Julie attended lots of events over the next several months. She even entered Cuda into the World’s Ugliest Dog Competition! She thought Cuda’s unique shape would certainly be the talk of the contest.

Cuda didn’t end up winning the competition, but Julie introduced Cuda to lots of people while she was there. Everyone who met little Cuda absolutely adored her, and no one cared that she didn’t look “normal!”

Julie LeRoy

After the competition, Cuda’s Facebook page became more popular. Eventually, people all around the world began to reach out to Julie about her dog’s condition, hoping to help answer her questions. That’s how Julie learned about Quasi, a dog living in Italy who looked a lot like Cuda…

Quasi’s owner told Julie that the condition was known as “short-spine syndrome.” Dogs affected by it are born with shortened spines and ligaments. When Quasi was born, she was unable to move her head and needed ligament surgery in her knees.

Quasi’s owner revealed that her pup actually won World’s Ugliest Dog in 2015. That’s right—she took home first place! Cuda was in better company than anyone suspected, but there was still a lot Julie wanted to learn about the condition…

Quasi’s owner directed Julie to an academic paper entitled “Historical Evidence of an Unusual Deformity in Dogs (Short‐Spine Dog).” Apparently, the condition had been documented as early as the 17th century!

An artist named David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl even painted several dogs afflicted with what he believed to be quite the bizarre deformation, referring to the animals as “monster of wolf and dog” and “monster of fox and dog.”

In South Africa, dogs with this genetic mutation were known as “baboon dogs” because of their shape and the similarly hunched posture that both animals seemed to take while they walked…

This rare genetic phenomenon was also discussed in a series of articles written between 1956 and 1961 about a Japanese dog with the syndrome. It seemed that, throughout history, this condition fascinated all who saw it.

A paper by Elaine Ostrander called “Genetics of the Dog” (published in 2001) confirmed what Julie suspected all along: short-spine syndrome was linked to inbreeding. It not only affected the dogs’ quality of life, but females’ ability to have puppies as well.

As time passed following Julie’s discovery, more and more people reached out to her about other special pups with short-spine syndrome. One such pooch was named Mojo, a dog who lived in Ohio.

The owner of another dog with short-spine syndrome, Pig, from Alabama, connected with Julie. Before long, Julie realized she’d brought together an entire community of dogs and their owners thanks to Cuda.

Most dogs like Cuda can live long, happy lives despite their condition, but inbreeding is a dangerous practice that puts these poor animals’ lives at risk. Thankfully, Cuda and her friends were adopted by loving humans and can live the life they deserve…

Despite Cuda’s physical maladies, she was still a loving and amazing dog, and Julie wouldn’t trade her for the world. Short-spine syndrome might look startling at first, but these animals just want what every other dog has: love!

Lucky for dogs like Cuda, there are dedicated pet owners like Julie to love and care for them. Adopting animals is so selfless!

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