Swimmers Syndrome – Peanuts Story

Before the story of Peanut and his siblings can begin it is important to have some understanding of “Swimmers“. This is a little-known disability that puppies can develop if the muscles in their legs haven’t developed properly.

The puppy cannot stand, and it can result in their limbs splaying out to the side in extreme circumstances hence the name “swimmers”.

Whether this is a consequence of breeding (nature) or being part of a small litter and not needing to move to get to food and therefore not using the legs (nurture) is debatable. The good news is that if caught early and with dedication there is every chance of recovery.

Earlier this year one of our coordinators received a call regarding 3 puppies with swimmers syndrome and it looked like unless homes were found these new puppies had no potential future ahead.

After a lot of research, we made the decision to offer them a chance and the coordinator began her search for three new homes.

It would not be easy as there needed to be a great deal of time and commitment involved and the owners would have to be prepared to go on a journey that nobody had any genuine experience of!!! However, three amazing families were prepared to help and support the puppies having investigated the swimmers syndrome condition and believing that they could help.

So, on June 28th, 2022, three couples met up in Kings Lynn to meet the new additions to their families who were named Peanut, Rosie, and Winnie.

Rehoming | Adoption | Emergency Fostering

Today we will focus on Peanut who is the black and tan male of the group.

Peanut’s issue was his folding his front legs beneath him being unable to stand. His owners produced an amazing idea.

They built a tunnel that kept his legs in the right place beneath his shoulders. They put little hurdles along the length which meant Peanut had to step over and use his legs correctly. Treats at various points encouraged Peanut even further, which as you know always works beautifully with our dachshunds!!!!!

Peanut is coming along, but occasionally, when excited, instead of using his legs individually to walk he resorts to a “bunny” style hopping movement.

His owner has a way of working on this too. She has discovered Peanut has a tickle spot on his paws. If touched it initiates a reflex reaction. This makes each leg move in turn and ensures isolation of movement and continued muscle development.

Peanut has formed a wonderful friendship with Danny who is a 15-year-old crossbreed rescue. The owner was concerned a puppy might be too much for her older dog, but Peanut has helped Danny recover his youthfulness. However, he is also good at ensuring Peanut doesn’t overdo the playfulness!!!!!

At mealtimes Peanut is supported in the correct standing position and is beginning to hold this stance more independently. He also has a raised bowl to keep his front legs straight. He is on a protein diet to help his muscles build up and strengthen further.

Peanut does have a weakness on his left side, but his future looks bright. He loves being outside and exercising. He still has a long way to go before he is completing longer walks but he is being given the best opportunity to get there. He has a wonderful team behind him and his recovery from swimmer’s syndrome will continue.

Dachshund Rescue has supported Peanut and the other two puppies suffering from swimmers syndrome throughout their journey by providing essential hydrotherapy and physiotherapy sessions to enhance their recovery.

Peanut will be meeting up with his sisters very soon and we will update you on all their progress. We are thrilled to have found these gorgeous puppies’ wonderful forever homes and want to thank everyone involved in their journey to a happy life and a wonderful future.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing to rehome your dog, for whatever reason, feel free to reach out to your local Dachshund Rescue coordinator. We have a UK-wide team. You’ll find their contact details here.