Does This Look Like A Lost Cause? Because Many Dogs With Cleft Palates Are Treated Like One.
There is a litany of issues that dogs can be born with, from the minor to the devastating. One of the most serious, and sadly common, are cleft palates. The number of puppies born with a cleft palate is tough to measure, but the rate of the defect being passed down is nearly 25 percent. The condition comes in numerous forms, from extremely mild to fatal.
Cleft palates happen when both sides of the palate fail to fuse in utero. Without the palate to separate the nasal passages from the mouth, puppies are unable to feed, and require human intervention in order to feed. The cleft prevents the puppies from creating any suction, so feeding from a nipple or bottle is impossible. Later on, once graduated to solid food, it is possible for food to be inhaled, leading to pneumonia and possibly death. However, tube feeding puppies until they are big enough to go through surgery is absolutely possible. It can take months of feeding, but there have been a number of cases with beautiful, happy endings through the love and care of a dog’s family.
Two stories that perfectly illustrate both the dedication required to help them, and the love that goes along with their recovery, are Pippa and Lentil. Both dogs have had wonderful and caring parents who used social media to raise awareness and support.
Lentil is now a national treasure. He was born into a litter of French Bulldog pups that all had severe facial deformities, and he was the only one to survive. With help from the French Bulldog Rescue Network and foster parent Lindsay Condefer, Lentil was able to survive. With constant observation and tube feeding every three hours for the first few weeks, Lentil grew and grew. Condefer kept a video journal of Lentil’s progress, turning him into a viral sensation. When he was big enough to handle surgery, his palate was repaired and he made a full recovery!
Lentil before his surgery
What stands out most with Lentil is what he did with his notoriety. Lentil and Condefer started the Team Lentil Kids’ Club, a program to help support and encourage children with similar craniofacial issues as they face surgery of their own. His work is ongoing, and he is an incredible motivation for others, human and dogs alike!