A Six-legged Abandoned Dog Has Surgery to Remove Extra Limbs

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic
Yana Vasileva/Shutterstock

A six-legged cocker spaniel found abandoned in a supermarket parking lot in Wales has had surgery to remove her extra limbs. 

The pooch was named Ariel, after the Little Mermaid, because her extra limbs were fused together, resembling a mermaid’s tail. 

Greenacres Rescue, a non-profit group from Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales, took Ariel in, arranged her surgery, and found her a foster family.  

Ariel, who was born with multiple birth defects, was operated on at Langford Vets Small Animal Referral Hospital. Surgeon Aaron Lutchman performed the surgery and managed to save all four limbs amid fears that one hind leg might have to be amputated. 

She’s doing really well, she’s bounced back and she’s a happy little dog and we’re hoping she’s going to go on to lead a fabulous little life,” said Lutchman. 

“She’s got her own little character and even though she’s had a tough start in life she really has done well to come through this as she has… if we can do what we can to help then that’s just absolutely brilliant.” 

According to Mikey Lawlor, founder and manager of Greenacres Rescue, Ariel was skinny and distressed when she was rescued. 

The vet who initially assessed Ariel noted that, in addition to her two surplus back legs, she also had an additional vulva,” said Lawlor. A CT scan later revealed that Ariel was born with only one kidney, which increased the complexity of the medical treatment she required. 

Unfortunately, the pup’s pelvis never formed properly because she had two hip joints on one side of the body. As a result, Ariel’s normal hind leg had no muscle tone, so there was a chance that that leg had to be amputated as well. 

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case though as it’s shown signs of having strengthened a lot in recent months,” Lawlor added.

Ariel is recovering nicely after her surgery, having lots of love and fuss from the nursing team. Now that the surgery is behind her, everyone is hoping that she’ll have an easy and quick recovery.

There were two procedures which lasted about two hours, but both went fine. The next day she was up, walking around and eating and drinking.”

Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed she doesn’t get any infections, but she really is in the best of hands,” added Lawlor according to BBC

The brave pooch was discharged over the weekend and has already returned home to her foster family in Wales. According to her vet, Ariel has to rest for the next two weeks to recover completely. 

The founder of Greenacres Rescue hopes that the organization will be able to find a forever home for Ariel after she completes physiotherapy and recovery. 

The response we had to Ariel’s story so far, including calls and emails from as far away as New York and Australia, has been incredible - so I’ve no doubt she’ll be snapped up,” said Lawlor.

I just can’t say enough of a thank you to everyone who’s contributed to helping her.” The organization raised around $19,000 for Ariel’s life-changing surgery thanks to donations from people all over the world.

Ariel was a complicated little dog whose care required close collaboration across a number of our specialist teams, including orthopedics, soft tissue surgery, anesthesia, and radiology,” said Vicki Black, the director of Langford Vets’ Hospital. 

“As part of the University of Bristol, we are a center committed to career-long learning and are proud to innovate and treat pets like Ariel. We are delighted such a lovely animal has recovered well from her surgery.”

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Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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