Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How To Care For A Puppy With A Cleft Lip

A cleft palate is a relatively common condition in dogs (up to 25% incidence). It occurs due to a failure of the roof of the mouth to close during development in the womb. This results in a hole between the mouth and the nasal cavity.

The defect can occur in the lip (primary cleft palate) or along the roof of the mouth (secondary cleft palate). Inside the mouth, the cleft can extend along the bony portion (hard palate), the soft palate at the back of the mouth, or both.

Cleft palate is generally regarded as an inherited condition. As such, purebred puppies, especially those with short noses (Brachycephalic breeds) such as Bulldogs, Boston terriers, Pekingese are more commonly affected than mixed breeds. Occasionally, nutritional deficiencies, viruses, and toxins affecting the mother during pregnancy may increase the risk of puppies being born with cleft palates.

Read on to learn about how to prevent cleft palate in puppies and dog cleft palate surgery cost.

How To Care For A Puppy With A Cleft Lip

A cleft palate is generally detected by visual examination of newborn puppies by the veterinary surgeon or breeder. Cleft palate of the lip or hard palate are easy to see, but soft palate defects can sometimes require sedation or general anaesthesia to visualise.
Affected puppies will often have difficulty suckling and swallowing. This is often seen as coughing, gagging, and milk bubbling from the pup’s nose. In less severe defects, more subtle signs such as sneezing, snorting, failure to grow, or sudden onset of breathing difficulty (due to aspiration of milk or food) can occur.

Treatment for Cleft Palate in Puppies

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition, the age at which the diagnosis is made, and whether there are complicating factors, such as aspiration pneumonia.

  • Small primary clefts of the lip and nostril of the dog are unlikely to cause clinical problems.
  • Secondary cleft palates in dogs require surgical treatment to prevent long-term nasal and lung infections and to help the puppy to feed effectively. The surgery involves either creating a single flap of healthy tissue and overlapping it over the defect or creating a ‘double flap’, releasing the palate from the inside of the upper teeth, and sliding it to meet in the middle over the defect. This is a complex surgery, only performed by experienced soft tissue surgeons at our Bolton, Ellesmere Port and, Shrewsbury surgeries. The cost for Cleft Palate surgery at Animal Trust is £1489.

Feeding of affected puppies requires bottle or tube feeding small quantities of milk every 2 hours from birth; older pups may be weaned onto solid foods from as early as 4 weeks of age.

Puppies with aspiration pneumonia will require antibiotics and sometimes hospitalisation, dependent on severity before any surgery can be performed.

Each patient’s individual health concerns and severity of palatal defect will govern the ideal timing of surgery and the technique used. In some cases, more than one surgical procedure may be necessary as the puppy grows and the palate expands.

Ideally, puppies with cleft palates should be tube fed until 3-4 months of age before performing surgery. This allows the puppy to grow to a size where fewer procedures are required and safety under general anaesthesia is greater, whilst limiting the risk of aspiration and allowing adequate nutrition until this time. It also reduces the risk of affecting the adult teeth as they erupt.

Most cases have an excellent long-term prognosis following surgical correction (dependent on severity and location). However, some dogs can have long-term complications even following successful surgery. They can be at increased risk of upper respiratory infections and some may have a chronic nasal discharge that is not definitively treatable. Due to the condition, dogs that have been born with a cleft palate should not go on to have puppies of their own.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s cleft palate or are unsure whether your dog or puppy has this condition. Then book a free appointment with your nearest surgery.

How To Prevent Cleft Palate In Puppies

Since cleft palates are a birth defect, selective breeding may be the only way to try and prevent a cleft palate in a dog. A dog born with a cleft palate should not be used for breeding. Cleft paletes tend to occur more in breeds with certain skull types, especially brachycephalic breeds.

Cleft palates are a birth defect that can affect dogs, just as they can affect humans. This condition occurs when the tissues forming the roof of the mouth do not fuse together properly during fetal development, leaving a gap or opening. This gap can lead to a variety of issues for the affected dog, including difficulty eating, breathing, and even speaking. In severe cases, cleft palates can also lead to chronic respiratory infections and other health problems.

One way to potentially prevent cleft palates in dogs is through selective breeding. By carefully choosing which dogs to breed based on their genetic history and health, breeders can reduce the likelihood of passing on genes that predispose a dog to cleft palate. It is important to note that a dog born with a cleft palate should not be used for breeding, as this can perpetuate the genetic predisposition for the condition.

Cleft palates tend to occur more frequently in certain breeds, particularly those with brachycephalic skull types. Brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boxers, have short, flat faces that can lead to a variety of health issues, including cleft palates. The shape of their skulls can make it more difficult for the tissues in the roof of the mouth to properly fuse together during development, increasing the risk of a cleft palate.

In order to reduce the incidence of cleft palates in dogs, breeders should carefully consider the genetic history and health of their breeding stock. By avoiding breeding dogs with a history of cleft palates and selecting for healthier individuals, breeders can help prevent this birth defect from occurring in future generations. Additionally, educating pet owners about the risks associated with certain breeds and the importance of responsible breeding practices can also help reduce the prevalence of cleft palates in dogs.

In conclusion, cleft palates are a serious birth defect that can affect dogs, particularly those with brachycephalic skull types. Selective breeding and responsible breeding practices can help reduce the incidence of cleft palates in dogs and improve the overall health of future generations. By working together to prioritize the health and well-being of our canine companions, we can help ensure that fewer dogs are born with this challenging condition.

Dog Cleft Palate Surgery Cost

Repairing a cleft palate requires multiple surgeries by specialized board-certified veterinary dentists and surgeons. Each surgery and post-op hospitalization can range from $5,000 to $10,000 or more. Pet insurance may help you recover some of the costs of this expensive condition.

Repairing a cleft palate in pets is a complex and costly process that requires the expertise of specialized board-certified veterinary dentists and surgeons. A cleft palate is a congenital condition where there is a gap in the roof of the mouth, leading to difficulties in eating, drinking, and breathing. This condition can affect both dogs and cats, and if left untreated, can lead to serious health issues such as respiratory infections, malnutrition, and dental problems.

The treatment for a cleft palate typically involves multiple surgeries to close the gap in the palate and restore normal function. Each surgery is performed under general anesthesia and requires meticulous surgical technique to ensure a successful outcome. The cost of these surgeries can vary depending on the severity of the cleft palate and the expertise of the veterinary team involved. On average, each surgery and post-op hospitalization can range from $5,000 to $10,000 or more.

Pet insurance can be a valuable resource for pet owners facing the high costs of treating a cleft palate in their furry companions. Many pet insurance policies cover a portion of the expenses related to surgery, hospitalization, and follow-up care for congenital conditions like cleft palates. By investing in a comprehensive pet insurance plan, pet owners can alleviate some of the financial burden associated with treating this expensive condition.

In conclusion, repairing a cleft palate in pets is a challenging and costly process that requires the expertise of specialized veterinary professionals. Pet insurance can help offset some of the expenses associated with multiple surgeries and post-op care, making it a valuable investment for pet owners facing the challenges of treating this congenital condition. By working closely with a team of board-certified veterinary dentists and surgeons, pet owners can ensure the best possible outcome for their furry companions.

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