Willow is a beautiful Beagle who was born earlier this year with a cleft lip and palate. As part of the defect, she has a bottom jaw that is slightly forward and bucked top front teeth – so her top teeth sink into the soft tissue of her lower jaw.
Last week, Willow had surgery to correct her birth defect. She’s now home but taking strong pain relief medication and sucking on ice cubes for fluids.
We are all hoping that the surgery was successful; her Elizabeth collar comes off later this week and she’ll be re-examined. Then her owner will discuss what can be done to help with the mis-alignment of Willow’s jaws and teeth.
Cleft lip and palate are serious defects (Willow had to be hand-fed from birth because she couldn’t nurse like normal pups; many people will ‘look the other way’ when a pup is born with these defects and let it die from malnutrition. Thankfully, Willow’s owner Gwen Hindmarsh wasn’t willing to do that).
Surgery is expensive and painful for the dog involved. Dogs with cleft lip and palate in their lines should not be allowed to breed, as the defects don’t always appear in every litter.
Good luck Willow!
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand