Essex dog with 'wonky' legs helped by swimming lessons

Winnie and her buckled legs Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Winnie's legs could not support her body when she arrived at the RSPCA

A "wonky" puppy is having swimming lessons to help with her deformed legs, which limited her ability to walk.

Winnie, an 18-week-old American bulldog, was taken in by the RSPCA in Essex as her owner could not cope with her buckling legs.

She was diagnosed with a developmental disease which meant her limbs could not properly support her weight.

Kathy Butler from the RSPCA said hydrotherapy had "transformed Winnie's life".

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The RSPCA said hydrotherapy had "transformed Winnie's life"

"When Winnie arrived she had severe knuckling on her forelimbs which left her legs collapsing under her weight," Ms Butler said.

"She thankfully wasn't in any pain, but needed urgent help so we arranged examinations and X-rays.

"A specialist referral clinic diagnosed her with a developmental disease of the carpus [the "wrist" between paw and leg] where the ligaments or tendons form abnormally and cannot support the joint."

Winnie started daily physiotherapy and had hydrotherapy sessions twice a week while living in a foster home.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The American bulldog's mobility had improved since hydrotherapy

The RSPCA described Winnie as "a very special wonky puppy".

The team at the RSPCA's Essex South, Southend & District Branch is hoping to find a "paw-fect forever home" for Winnie - ideally somewhere in the county so she can continue her hydrotherapy until she is fully grown.

Ms Butler said: "Winnie is really keen to learn and has been attending puppy training classes. She walks beautifully on the lead and loves playing in water.

"She's a clever, active girl who loves running around, playing with other dogs and learning new things."

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