Tag Archives: birth defects

Willow’s surgery for cleft palate

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.

Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that have been traced to genetic factors.  (see my earlier articles on Cleft Palate in Dogs and The Genetics of Cleft Lip and Palate in Dogs)

Willow, before her surgery, showing the cleft lip

Willow, before her surgery, showing the cleft lip

The inside of Willow's mouth, showing the palate deformation more clearly

The inside of Willow’s mouth, showing the palate deformation more clearly

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.

Willow's mouth, post-surgery

Willow’s mouth, post-surgery

Willow in her Elizabethan collar (which brother Freddie believes makes her into a scary monster)

Willow in her Elizabethan collar (which brother Freddie believes makes her into a scary monster)

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

 

 

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