Five-week old Cecil, an English Cocker Spaniel, came for evaluation by Dr. Dale Kressin, of Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists, LLC in Oshkosh Wisconsin, for a severe cleft of the hard and soft palate. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Kressin’s team recommended tube feeding Cecil to allow for growth and development and then to re-assess him after he was a bit older to determine the best treatment plan.
Cecil’s breeder was passionate about helping Cecil through the problem and followed Dr. Kressin’s recommendation for care and feeding of their puppy. Approximately five months later, Cecil returned for further evaluation and treatment of the cleft palate.
Six weeks after the cleft palate repair, Cecil is doing very well, he continues to grow and is a typical hyperactive eight month old puppy, weighing in at 37.5 pounds. Cecil provides pure joy to his new forever family.
Key considerations for owners with pets having cleft palate problems:
- Avoidance of aspiration (getting food and water into the respiratory tract) and secondary pneumonia.
- Continuous support in tube or hand feeding.
- Financial considerations with respect to cleft palate repair surgery.
Key considerations for veterinarians in advising clients with pets having cleft palate include:
- Genetic and environmental causes for the development of the problem. Cleft palate can be inherited, congenital, developmental or environmental.
- It is important to help clients understand that cleft palate repair carries a good prognosis provided they can be appropriately fed during their early growth and development.
- Operation of cleft palate requires an understanding of the anatomy, neurology, physiology, growth and development of these patients. Dr. Kressin recommends to wait to operate between the ages of three and seven months. Operating earlier or later can result in complication associated with growth and development.
A board certified veterinary dentist offers the experience and specialized care that offers best possible outcome for a puppy with a cleft palate. Veterinary dentists work closely with our referring colleagues and provide detailed records and any follow up care recommendations.