There is nothing quite as simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting as hearing a story about a puppy that has a disability, and then that same puppy, after being abandoned, finding a forever home.
Such is the story of Jack, maybe the most adorable Bulldog puppy you’ve ever seen, who also happens to suffer from a condition called spina bifida in dogs.
Spina bifida in dogs can be a somewhat common congenital condition in many pets and humans alike. It is when the vertebrae are deformed in the womb. The result being a walking impediment, but all the other great puppy stuff is there; like the cuteness and the lovableness and the everything elseness.
Which is all the confusing as to why a person who initially adopted him never showed to pick him up? The Peach Bully Shelter which specializes bulldog rescues said on Facebook that, “Jack was very sad when his meet and greet person was a no show, no call. He had a bath, got his fancy harness on, had a fresh diaper, and a dedicated foster team that drove 40 mins each way just to end in huge disappointment.”
After posting this heartbreaking story Jack was enveloped by the loving embrace of the internet… well, not the whole internet just the part of the internet that loves dogs. The part of the internet that generated more than 600 people checking in on him and donating money, as well as over 200 applications for adoption.
From there it was just a matter of choosing the right family for him to go home with, and because of his special needs it was a tough choice. While it is doubtless that all the people who inquired about adopting little Jack were willing to accept him with open arms it does not mean that they were all the right fit.
Spina bifida in dogs requires a certain level of care that not everyone, no matter how much they might want to, can provide. Yes, he’s cute and loveable as all get out, but he requires a special diet, hygiene regimen, and a special kind of exercise regimen.
The good news is that they finally found a family, and according to all reports he’s integrating nicely and is as happy as a button. But, his story does underscore another important story, and that how hard it is to get a pet with deformities or other health issues adopted.
So if you can open your home and heart to animal with special needs please do so!
Here’s What Jack Wants You To Know About Spina Bifida in Dogs
What is Spina Bifida?
Classified as a birth defect, spina bifida is a deformity of the vertebrae that occurs while a puppy is developing in the womb. This deformity typically causes difficulty walking, and may require special care.
What are the Symptoms of Spina Bifida?
Spina bifida may cause incontinence, poor range of motion or complete paralysis of the hind legs, a lack of feeling in the affected area, and poor coordination. While dogs with spina bifida are just as lovable, you need to be sure you can provide care and make your home life accessible for their needs.
What Breeds are Commonly Affected?
The most commonly affected breed is the English Bulldog. Other breeds such as Chihuahuas, Collies, and Dobermans are also commonly affected by spina bifida, though to a lesser degree.
What is the Treatment for Spina Bifida in Dogs?
Sadly, there is currently no known cure for spina bifida in dogs. Instead, most treatments focus on mitigating the symptoms and assuring quality of life. Affected dogs typically need to wear diapers, and in more extreme cases, may require some form of mobility aid like a custom wheelchair.
What is the Life Expectancy of a Dog With Spina Bifida?
With proper attention and care from their humans, dogs with Spina Bifida can live long, fulfilling lives like any other dog! Caring for a special needs dog is a rewarding challenge for anyone who’s equipped to handle it.
Is Spina Bifida in Dogs Hereditary?
Most cases of spina bifida are environmental, but there have been reported cases of multiple generations of dogs with spina bifida. Because these cases are quite rare, it is not considered a hereditary genetic condition.
What Causes Spina Bifida in Dogs?
Because spina bifida is an environmental birth defect, the issue occurs while the puppy is still developing in utero. Harmful toxins or poisons, stress, and other potentially harmful factors could play a role in the malformation of the spine.
Do Dogs With Spina Bifida Need Surgery?
It depends on the type and severity of each individual dog. While it may help some dogs, there’s no point in operating for others, and you’ll need to consult your vet before making a decision.
Are Dogs With Spina Bifida Incontinent?
Yes, incontinence is a common symptom of spina bifida in dogs. Because of this, your dog will likely need to wear a diaper, and you’ll need to be intentional about checking and changing the diaper regularly so they stay clean and comfortable.
What Should You Expect When Adopting a Dog With Spina Bifida?
Though you need to be prepared for a more challenging experience when caring for your dog, you can also look forward to a more rewarding one. Not many people have the privilege of being able to care for a special needs dog, and even fewer have the know-how and patience. You’ll find fulfillment in caring for your new dog, giving them all the love and care that every dog deserves, and of course, they’ll return the favor in spades!