The exciting headline of a six-legged dog was one that probably captured your attention recently. It surely got mine, as well as a number of my friends as I began to see pictures of the now Internet-famous Skipper popping up all over social media. My wife originally brought her to my attention and quizzed me on what were the names of her congenital conditions: monocephalus dipygus as well as monocephalus rachipagus tribrachius tetrapus. Gesundheit! Say that five times fast! I had literally never heard of these conditions, which refer to organisms with one head but a doubled pelvis, extra limbs, and various internal organs. Skipper also has two tails! Several case studies appear in human and veterinary medical literature regarding these rare diagnoses, and in many cases, the individuals may not survive for too long. It was cool to come across something I had never seen and learn that Skipper was doing well thus far.
Meanwhile at the clinic this month, I met for the first time two relatively young Shar Peis who presented to the clinic within two weeks of each other. One had a low-grade fever, swollen hocks, and was generally acting off per the owner, while the other had swollen hocks, was dehydrated and was painful on exam. Though we studied about it in vet school, I had yet to see a presumptive case of amyloidosis (also known as Shar Pei Fever) in my clinical practice until then. While both dogs responded to symptomatic treatment, further follow-up will definitely be needed to monitor their kidney values, among other metrics. There’s nothing like exciting cases to keep me on my toes!