Can you fix a swimmer puppy? A Complete Guide


Be sure to give your Swimmers puppy a supportive, orthopedic and lofty bed (not any regular dog bed) that will help to keep as much pressure as possible off the dogs chest and abdomen. You can also pad your puppy’s bed with blankets so that you can customize the height and supportiveness of their bedding.

Taping or Hobbling

Generally, the first go-to for treatment of Swimmers Puppy Syndrome is the taping method. Taping – also referred to as “hobbling” – is when a medical tape is used to secure the puppy’s legs in the correct position.

Its inadvisable to first try this yourself. A veterinarian who is experienced with hobbling in dogs should always show you how to tape your puppy’s legs so that you don’t cause any pain or damage to the limbs.

To begin with, taping should only be worn for 15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day. While taped, you should use a sling or harness to support your puppy.

Although supported by the sling, your puppy’s feet should be only just touching the ground. Using a harness or sling to support a puppy in this way strengthens the dogs leg muscles, but it also helps to relieve pressure on their sternum.

Symptoms & Causes of Swimmer Puppy Syndrome

This is a fairly uncommon syndrome, with little research and understanding in terms of what causes it in the first place.

Some medical professionals believe that Swimmer Puppy Syndrome is hereditary. If this is the case, an affected puppy should not be used for breeding purposes.

Others believe that it is not genetic at all, but merely congenital. This means that the deformity happens at random, in-utero-carriage via infection or due to some other abnormality.

Environmental factors are also of debate. It is said that by keeping a room too warm, a puppy will become overheated and lazy. The pup remains in a lying position for long periods of time nursing, devoid of regular movement to foster healthy muscle development.

If you notice the following symptoms, contact your vet immediately. The sooner you start therapy, the better chance your pup has of a full recovery.

  • The puppy has a flat chest with the forelegs and hind legs permanently splayed out of the sides of the body. This is usually evident a week after birth.
  • The puppy is unable to stand or walk by three weeks of age
  • Because the chest flattens, the heart and other organs are pushed up into the pleural cavity. This makes breathing difficult, so the puppy will lack energy and appear lethargic.
  • Swimmer Puppy Syndrome is most commonly seen in small or dwarf dog breeds. Here is a list of notable breeds that have recurrent cases.

  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • English Cocker Spaniels
  • Pekinese
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • English Bulldogs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Basset Hounds
  • Dachshunds
  • How to Help a puppy with Swimmer Puppy Syndrome

    Swimmer Puppy SyndromeSwimmers syndrome is an uncommon development in dogs or cats, also known as flat-pup syndrome or swimming-puppy syndrome. This syndrome leads to a deformation in their limbs, beginning with the hind limbs. This type of deformational development makes the legs twisted and results in the inability to stand or walk.

    Don’t fret. We’ve prepared a thorough guide on what this rare condition is and how you can properly treat your pup to give her the best outcome possible for a long, happy life.