A rare, polydactyl foal recently underwent successful surgery to remove the extra digit growing from one of his legs.
Polydactyly is a congenital condition that affects both humans and animals. It manifests as additional digits on the hands or feet. It can occur on one or both hands, and there are several different variations of the condition.
In most equine cases, the extra digit, called the supernumerary digit, grows on the inside of the limb, stemming off the splint bone.
In this case, the five-legged foal had a miniaturized limb growing from the inside of his fetlock. Although tiny, the limb was fully formed, and all normal structures were present: fetlock, pastern, coffin joint, and fully developed hoof.
The one-month old foal underwent surgery at Performance Equine Associates in Oklahoma.
According to a spokesman; "The removal went well and the foal is recovering nicely...This is not from line breeding nor a twin, it is simply a developmental defect that occurs from time to time."
This five-legged foal is in good company. Earlier this year, officials from the U.K.'s Environment Agency discovered an abandoned polydactyl pony. The eight-year-old stallion, Trooper, suffered from neglect and veterinarians treated him for the infection he had in the extra limb. He will not undergo limb removal surgery, as he is coping well with his condition.
Curious? You can read more about equine polydactyly here.
All photos courtesy of Horse & Hound.