Cleft Palate Boxer Puppies


JASPER, ALABAMA.....Saving one Cleft Palate puppy is difficult at best.  Saving four Cleft Palate puppies with Hydrocephalus is almost impossible.   A rescue in Alabama had reached out to us to help with 4 CP (Cleft Palate) puppies they had been nurturing.  The foster has gone as far as she could with the puppies, and they were now seven weeks old and were not doing well.  


I agreed to take on the puppies, knowing it was an uphill battle that would be very costly.  Cleft Palates are thought to be Birth Defects caused by genetics and also environmental.   Dogs that produce Cleft Palate puppies should not be allowed to Breed and should be spayed or neutered.  


I spoke to the Surgeons and Criticalist at Charleston Veterinary Referral Center to prepare for the puppies.  I also sent them all the newest research that had been done on CP puppies.  The initial plan was to make prosthetics that would go in the roof of the mouth to close the opening until the puppies were six months old.  At that time, they would be old enough to have the palate surgery that would close the opening.  Unfortunately, because of the age of the pups, the prosthetics did not work.  


The most critical pups were Gidget and Dale.  They were both having problems regulating their sugar values.  The Team worked diligently to get enough food in them, but each pup was aspirating.  The surgical Team decided putting in feeding tubes would give them the best possible chance.  Each pup did well for the procedure without any complications. The feeding tubes would also allow the Criticalist to give meds without fear of regurgitation.   


Gidget and Dale were still having problems with regurgitation, even with the feeding tubes.  Ultrasounds and x-rays were done to determine if any of the pups had an esophagus defect causing problems.  Gidget and Dale both showed signs of a Mega-Esophagus.  Zippy and Chip were doing better with their motility issues and could eat food made with gelatin.


Sadly, no matter what the ER Team did, Gidget and Dale could not get enough food to maintain their health.  I had to make the hardest decision of all to say goodbye to these two adorable pups.   They were losing their ability to walk or be a puppy.  Both pups had bonded and been inseparable.   They passed together in the arms of the Vet Tech that had been taking care of them.


Our focus now had to be on the two that were left.   Each pup for the first week was close to $2500. each.  Nothing was spared to save them.   We now had to figure out what could be done for Zippy and Chip to give them the best possible outcome.  Each pup has to survive four more months before surgery can be done to repair the defect.  The ER Team decided it was best to pull the feeding tubes and feed the last two by mouth since each pup had developed an infection around the tube.  


Each pup has a Special Vet Tech that is responsible for their feedings which are critical.  They report directly to the ER Vet to make sure nothing is missed.   Both pups have aspirated several times, but Chip seems to be the worst.  With trial and error, the Vet. Tech in charge has managed to develop a food formula that is working.  I have tweaked it further to make sure they are getting the healthiest food possible.  


Zippy and Chip require 24-hour care.  We are committed to saving these two puppies.  We could not save Gidget and Dale but are hopeful the last two will survive until they can have their surgery. Saving a Cleft Palate puppy is genuinely a Labor of Love.   They need to be fed every 2-4 hours.  Every Vet tells you to euthanize and not even try.  Thousands of these special pups are euthanized each year without being given a chance.  


We are at the beginning of our Journey to save the final two puppies.  With your help and our commitment, we will see two adorable Boxer Pups survive and thrive long enough to have their surgery.  Please, Help Us, Help them by DONATING.

June 01, 2021 by Jennifer Smith