Delaware 14

Nov. 26, 2014: Two years ago last week we went to the Seattle airport to pick up Sasha, formerly known as Delaware 14. You probably recall she was “the dog with four front legs” because of the way her rear legs formed. They bend the wrong way and are fused. X-rays showed she was born with no hip sockets, so her leg bones are floating without touching her pelvis.
She uses her back legs like a pogo stick, running with her front legs with her back legs bouncing along behind her. In fact running is her only efficient gait. We have rugs all over the bare floors so she has traction. When she gets off them she more or less swims across the floor. Her front legs and chest muscles are incredible and she has plenty of determination.
It was pretty obvious she had never played with other dogs. She loves her humans but is fiercely independent, and didn’t make friends with the other dogs; she got along great with everybody but never really related to them. That all changed earlier this year when we got Lily, a one or two year old Sammy girl found as a stray. Lily also showed little evidence of playing when she was first here. She was found with a litter of puppies, covered with ticks, and it was probably her first heat. Now a wonderful change has come over both the girls. They gradually became closer and now they roll around playing and chewing on each other. It’s heartwarming to see the changes.
Most mornings Lily goes with Kathy to do barn chores while Sasha follows me. I lift her up on the bed and play with her and she loves it.
We will always be grateful Danielle and Jeanne trusted us with Sasha and helped her fly across the country. Thank you!
More pictures of Sasha are at

6/19/13: Sasha’s coat has improved incredibly since she got here. She arrived with a hairless tail which has filled out now to be plush with a curl that goes full circle. She gets around, but sometimes slowly, sometimes swimming as much as she walks. Because of her anatomy, sitting down means she is in very close contact with the ground, and any bacteria present makes its way into her. As a result she has had nearly continuous urinary tract infections for six months. We’re working with our vet to come up with a solution.
We have finally been able to start treating her for Lyme because her current UTI is one that responds to Doxy. It also means she still isn’t housebroken, and that means she gets limited time on carpeted areas where she is able to walk better. We have carpet runners and throw rugs covering paths all over the house to make it easier for her.
She makes friends with everyone she meets, and holds court like the princess she is. When she gets out in the yard with other dogs she plays hard, jumping and rolling around, and seems not to know she isn’t the same physically. She loves attention and attracts new friends wherever she goes.

2/3/13: Our grandchildren were here over the weekend and Sasha got to play with them. A video of all of them in the yard is posted HERE.

2/2/13: We are testing Sasha to see if she still has active Neospora Caninum parasites in her system. Her condition was caused because her mother had them, and we don’t know if any of the DE or PA dogs is currently infected. Several other DE dogs are being tested in the next few days and the results will be posted on this website.

Kathy’s birthday was last week and celebrated on Friday. As we were getting ready for dinner our daughter and four grandkids came running into the house as a complete surprise. They drove six hours and the surprise was perfect. After dinner Sasha showed she is comfortable with small children (1, 2, 3, and 4 years old), as the picture below proves.

1/30/13: This is not posted to scare anyone, but it may be important to adopters. If your dog has a weak rear, it’s especially important you discuss this with your vet.

When I took Sasha to the vet yesterday it was for a re-check on a continuing urinary tract infection. As I was standing by the reception area about to leave, the owner stopped by. He is a vet with 25 years’ experience, and he hadn’t yet met Sasha. He looked at her and immediately said “I know what’s wrong with her.”

He told me it was Neospora Caninum, a parasite that causes her exact symptoms. It was transmitted from her mother in utero. The vet called after I got home to let me know he had refreshed his memory; it wasn’t something he learned in vet school but in his continuing education for his specialty as an orthopaedic surgeon. Keep in mind this was the fifth vet who has seen Sasha, and it is the second clinic (we moved her because we disagreed with her previous treatment).

Neospora Caninum requires dual hosts. The first, or definitive host, is the dog. The parasite is present in the feces of an infected dog, and is then transmitted to cattle (less commonly sheep or goats), where it forms cysts and can cause spontaneous abortion. If infected cattle are slaughtered and the meat is fed to dogs, the cycle continues as more dogs are infected. Please keep in mind that this is a simplified explanation.

More importantly for our dogs, this parasite can be transmitted between dogs through feces, and reports described the home and property of the Delaware and Pennsylvania dogs as “filthy.” It is therefore possible for any or all of the seized dogs to have Neospora Caninum parasites in their bodies. The main symptom is hind end weakness (paresis) but it may not surface for years. This parasite can cause onset of problems as late as very old age, though most frequently in young dogs.

Treatment is most commonly a course of Clindamycin, an antibiotic. About half the treated dogs make a full or functional recovery.

From what I have learned in the last day, this parasite is something you don’t want to mess with. Please talk to your own vet about this. The following links are provided for you to study and to show your vet. It’s not common, and only one of five of our vets here were familiar with Neospora Caninum.

Danielle is making plans now to test some of the dogs to establish whether this is a widespread problem or limited to a small number of them.

This is a nice, fairly short article written in plain English.

From the straightleg shepherds page at

This is a Canadian article with good information.

From Australia, with some interesting info.

1/25/13: Four more pictures of Sasha (Click Here).

1/11/13: Sasha is getting even stronger, runs more, and fits well into our pack. She is the youngest by far, and probably stretches their tolerance quite a bit, but even the oldest and grumpiest dog is patient with her. There is just something about her that everybody (and every other dog) loves. Our son and daughter-in-law have a young Golden who visits frequently, and she and Sasha play hard together.
She is still having a little trouble with housetraining, and I heard from some of the other adopters of Delaware dogs that they are having the same problem. This week I took Sasha to our vet for a follow-up on treatment of her urinary tract infection. The vet used ultrasound to look at her bladder, and showed me that the bladder walls were quite a lot thicker than normal and probably less elastic. Even after two weeks on an antibiotic (this is the second try to eliminate the UTI), she still had a high level of struvite crystals in her urine, enough that when the ultrasound wand was moved around it looked a little like a snow globe. We are continuing the antibiotic for another two weeks and will re-check then, and have put Sasha on a prescription dog food to help with the crystals. If other adopters are still having problems with housetraining I recommend you talk to your vet about an ultrasound on your dog’s bladder. It appears many of these dogs had (or still have) UTIs.
There are more pictures posted in Sasha’s gallery. Click Here to see them.

12/18/13: Sasha continues to get better and stronger and can almost keep up running with other dogs now. She acts like a puppy. It snowed overnight and she loves it.

12/12/12: Sasha was spayed today and had x-rays taken of her hips and back legs. They show that the leg sockets never developed, and consequently the tops of her back legs are floating in muscle. Her legs are bowed, probably because of incorrect development. This is a congenital condition and there is probably nothing that can be done to correct it. That doesn’t bother Sasha, who becomes stronger every day. She still refuses to use the ramp to the yard, preferring to jump up the step to the deck. Her personality is as sweet as it could be, and everyone at the vet gathers around when she is there. You can see the x-rays on her picture gallery.

11/27/12: Sasha has a picture page with two new videos HERE.

11/19/12: 14 is in her new home and her name is Sasha.

11/12/12: Video posted on YouTube (click here) and new pictures added below.

11/11/12: Tamara made a video of 14 and put it on YouTube. Here’s the link.

11/8/12: Dog 14 will be heading toward an adopter in Washington State in about a week.

10/31/12: This is the one with 4 front legs. Shelter told me she was paralyzed and carried her out, I didn’t realize she was deformed until i got her to the kennel. She can get around and get herself up etc, she’s just really slow. Vet said he’s seen this in foals stuck in the birth canal too long have legs like this and since it’s not causing pain we’re not going to do anything about it. Her ears were also a swampy mess so she got a smear, a clean and same meds as nineteen. Her personality is to die for, a major sweetie all the way around and just really happy. 🙂