Calf born at North Dakota ranch has 2 extra limbs

Mercer County rancher Gerald Skalsky holds a calf with an extra pair of legs attached to its neck that born Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at his family ranch south of Beulah, N.D. The state veterinarian says the extra legs are likely due to a genetic disorder. ( Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

A calf was born with an extra set of limbs but seemingly healthy at a North Dakota ranch.

Rancher Gerald Skalsky said he was surprised when the calf was born Wednesday with two small limbs hanging off one side of its neck. Skalsky, whose ranch is south of Beulah, notes the condition isn't fatal.

"I've been ranching my whole life, and I've never seen anything like it," Skalsky told The Bismarck Tribune.

State Veterinarian Susan Keller said the calf may have been born with one of two disorders: polymelia, where extra limbs are often smaller or shrunken, or polydactyly, which is the result of genetic combinations involving recessive genes.

Keller said such defects are an "important topic that producers should not be afraid to report to their veterinarian and to all breed associations."

Sheridan Animal Hospital veterinarian Gerald Kitto, a member of the North Dakota Board of Animal Health, said he's seen only three or four calves with an extra limb during his 42 years of practice. Skalsky said he plans to have the calf's extra limbs surgically removed.

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