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  • nopupcleftbehind

The palate is the structure that separates the nasal and oral cavities to allow simultaneous suckling and breathing during lactation. The palate develops from two angles in dogs, the secondary palate becomes fused between days 25 and 28 in the uterus. One issue we face is the tube feeding does not encourage the suckling reflex of the pup and the gradual delivery of milk to the stomach.

Suckling and chewing are essential for developing the proper facial muscles, which is required for normal jaw and dental growth. This is a number one reason we allow our pups to suck our fingers during and after a feed, if we are lucky they take to a dummy. The sucking not only comforts and fulfils the natural instinct to suck but also helps produce saliva a important part of mouth and stomach health.

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  • nopupcleftbehind

A cleft palate is an opening between the mouth and the nose that happens when the tissues separating these two cavities do not grow together properly. The defect results in direct communication between the mouth and nasal cavity. It is one of the most common congenital defects seen in puppies and kittens. It occurs during embryonic development and is considered a congenital malformation, which means it is present at birth.

Risk factors ~ During pregnancy certain drugs can result in cleft palate development. Nutritional deficiencies and folic acid deficiency during pregnancy may result in cleft palates. Chemical/toxin exposure, excessive Vitamin A intake and some viral infections during pregnancy have also been implicated.

It has nothing to do with ‘bad breeding’ sometimes it is just one of those things that happen just like human children.

It may seem like there is a lot but that is just because you’ve not heard about them as a majority are put to sleep at birth. By educating people about cleft palates we hope to be able to give more of these guys a chance!

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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Bellette

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

Saving these special fur kids takes a lot of time, patience and money.

Most vets and breeders will tell you to euthanise at birth, and that's not without good reason, as they do not want the puppy to suffer, people do not realise how much dedication, time, costs and sleeplessness it is to get to surgery size and age.

So when people try to save a cleft puppy without support and massive dedication, the puppy will suffer a slow death by starving  to death as they simply cannot form and hold a suction to draw the milk down no matter how hard they try, Another risk is anything going into there mouth can get into the  nasal passages as the roof of the mouth hasn't closed properly in utero when milk gets into the open roof of mouth  sinusitis and pneumonia occur and pup will die.

This  is unfair for the pup and why euthanasia is often the kinder option unless there is a dedicated rescue like us willing to take them into care

We feed via a stomach tube every 2 hours 24/7 until they reach approx. 5-6 weeks of age that's correct they cannot eat solids as a normal pup either as food can get into the cleft,  so we make special meals for them that can go down the tube and we teach to drink water  from a rabbit water dropped bottle .

Once we hit that magic milestone, we have yet another vet assessment this time a pre-surgical check for anaesthetic suitability and the operation to change there life!!

Operation is really life-changing!!! There faces when they taste and get to eat food and lap water from a  bowl

They seem to recover extremely quickly after surgery and go on to live a totally normal happy and long life.

We have a amazing vets behind us that help with the surgeries we couldn't be more blessed

We always need financial help to support these special pups get a chance at life, without support we cannot afford as volunteers to pay for these expensive surgeries they require on top we have lots of running costs veterinary bills, Humicrib, incubators, formula sooooo much formula... stomach tubes, transport heating  the list never seems to stop

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