German Shepherd with a hunchback named Quasimodo wins thousands of fans after footage of his unusual appearance is spotted online
A stray dog with a hunchback has gained a legion of fans after finding home at a canine rescue shelter in what could be the perfect fairy-tale ending.
Quasimodo, whose chest is about a third of the size that it should be at his age, has virtually no neck to support his full-sized head. His unusual appearance is caused by short spine syndrome – a condition that only affects 13 known dogs in the world.
The pure-breed German Shepherd was found in Kentucky, USA, earlier this month and arrived at his temporary home in Minnesota on January 28. Now, thanks to a fast-growing fan-base, he could find a permanent home sooner than expected.
Hunchback: Quasimodo (pictured) has short spine syndrome, which left him with an unusually short frame
Scared: First photos of Quasimodo taken at Secondhand Hounds showed a reserved and slightly scared pooch
Puppy eyes: The four-year-old German Shepherd is said to behave more like a puppy than a grown up dog
He is currently homed at Secondhand Hounds, a non-profit animal rescue operation in Eden Prairie, MN, where he gained his fame.
Quasimodo grew up in a kennel and had been in a southern shelter according to his Facebook page.
Staff at the shelter named him after the well-known Disney character from the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
X-ray images of the animal shows that his spine is twisted and gnarly. His internal organs are also severely compressed as a result.
However, Quasimodo has a full-sized head and legs.
Lovable: Quasimodo cuddles up to Rachel Mairose, founder of Minnesota dog charity Secondhand Hounds
Friendly: Quasimodo is friendly with other members of staff as well as he snuggles up for a kiss (pictured)
Famous: Adorable photos of Quasimodo (pictured) has gained him legions of fans on Facebook this week
Dr Susan Miller at Mission Animal Hospital, MN, told Fox News that she has ‘never seen anything like this, only in pictures’ and that its closest human condition would be spina bifida.
She added: ‘We think a genetic defect – not sure if it’s inbreeding.
‘Something along the way caused his spine not to fully harden, so they think the softened vertebrate just compressed either in utero or very soon after birth, and then at some point it hardened, but it didn’t harden soon enough.’
Although Quasimodo will be having surgery to improve his condition, he still could have complications in the future.
However, offers to adopt Quasimodo have flooded in thanks in part to his impressive Facebook profile.
Taking a moment: Quasimodo holds still as he goes into an X-ray so that doctors can sleuth his condition
Compressed: X-ray of Quasimodo shows that his spine is twisted while his organs are compressed together
Long-term: Although Quasimodo will be having surgery to improve his condition, he still could have complications in the future
Secondhand Hounds first shared a six-second clip of the four-year-old dog on its Facebook page on January 9, which has since had more than 100,000 views.
When he arrived at the shelter earlier this week, a Facebook page was set up to document his life at the shelter.
Within two days, it has had close to 15,000 likes.
Several offers of adoptions has already appeared on the page.
However, keen adopters will have to wait.
Rachel Mairose told MailOnline: ‘He might have surgery as soon as Monday – waiting for confirmation from the surgeon.
‘Right now we are focusing less on finding him a home and more on getting him healthy. We already have hundreds of requests for adoption.’
Rare: Quasimodo’s unusual condition, short spine syndrome, is thought to affect just 13 dogs in the world
Hunchback: The four-year-old German Shepherd (above) has virtually no neck but a full-sized head and legs