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“Unicorn Dog” With Five Legs Is Up For Adoption And Winning Hearts!

A two-photo collage. The first shows a woman smiling as she squats next to and pets a standing dog. The second image shows an X-ray of a dog's paw that has double the bones.

As we all know, every single dog is special simply because they exist. That being said, Bella from Wisconsin is a particularly special pup. At 6 months old, her family surrendered her to the Wisconsin Humane Society. From the moment Bella arrived, folks at the shelter knew she was different. That’s because her right hind leg is wider than usual. Plus, she has nine toes on that foot alone. After an X-ray, they learned she actually has five legs!

“They wanted to X-ray her and were shocked to discover on her X-rays that she basically has a mirror image of the bone structure in that leg,” Angela Speed, vice president of marketing and communications at the shelter says. “And so she has two femurs, two tibias, two two fibulas and instead of four to five toes, Bella has nine.”

Three X-ray results showcasing Bella's dimelia. One X-ray shows she has double the bones in her paw. Another shows double of her leg bones.

This rare condition is called dimelia. You might think that it would greatly impact Bella’s mobility, but that hasn’t been the case so far. In fact, she’s incredibly active, always taking the chance to run. Her rambunctiousness is actually why her previous family gave her up, not because of her condition. A condition which, according to the shelter, is incredibly rare.

Close up of Bella's paw with double the bones and toes.

Dog With Five Legs Looking For Her Forever Home at Wisconsin Animal Shelter

“There’s only a few documented cases in veterinary literature of [dimelia] being found in dogs,” Angela says. “It’s more primarily seen in cattle. It’s also a condition that humans can have as well. But in our 145 years of operation, this is definitely the first case of dimelia we’ve seen in a canine and it’s really blown us all away.”

Close up of the bottom of Bella's paw with double toes and bones.

Now, this “unicorn of a dog,” as Angela describes her, is available to be adopted — but she’s not the only one. Seventeen others are eagerly waiting to find their forever homes. They hope Bella’s story reminds folks that adopting an animal is a great option for those seeking a new friend.

Woman talks as she sits with a dog, Bella, on the floor.

“We’re hoping that Bella’s story does shed a light on the fantastic animals who are available at animal shelters,” she explains. “Across the country, shelters have been experiencing really high dog intake but slower dog adoptions and we’re feeling that same pressure right now so we’re hoping that this inspires people to consider adopting a shelter dog.”

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

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