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Seven-legged calf born

Animal also had two spines, Steamboat Veterinary Hospital worker said

Blythe Terrell
A seven-legged calf was born Thursday afternoon at Steamboat Veterinary Hospital. It lived for 10 minutes.
Matt Stensland

— A seven-legged calf was born Thursday afternoon at Steamboat Veterinary Hospital.

The Black Angus calf was delivered by Caesarean section. The owners of the calf, who wanted to remain anonymous, thought their cow was having twins, hospital receptionist Pam Lynn said. They brought the cow to the hospital Thursday morning because they couldn’t get the calf out, she said.

Veterinarian Lee Meyring delivered the animal and called its condition a birth anomaly.

“I’ve been in practice for 14 years, and I’ve only seen one other calf with a fifth leg,” Meyring said. “And so this one’s definitely the most bizarre I’ve seen. It’s just a twinning process that had an incomplete splitting of the embryo, then the fetus.”

The mother seemed to be OK, Lynn said. The calf lived only 10 minutes, she said. One of the seven legs had two hooves. The calf had two spines but just one head. The veterinarians don’t plan to examine its organs.

“We’re not going to open it up because it’s not really worth it, so we’re going to try to get it preserved,” Lynn said. “It’s the weirdest thing we’ve seen, ever ever.”

The hospital is trying to reach Ripley’s Believe it or Not or Animal Planet to find out whether they were interested in the calf. It also will provide an interesting lesson for 4-H members, Lynn said.

“We’ve had calls already from Fort Collins, Denver,” she said. “There must have been 12 people here yesterday.”

Meyring initially thought the cow was having twins, she said.

“He went in and said here’s all these legs, there’s more legs and more legs, and they’re all attached,” Lynn said.


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