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How to Save a Newborn Puppy with a Cleft Palate

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Puppy cleft palate vs normal

A cleft palate puppy will be unable to feed or nurse on its own. These pups may perish within a few days after birth if left alone. If you have a puppy with a cleft palate, early intervention is critical to ensuring the animal’s survival to maturity. You will have to hand-feed the puppy. For pups with cleft palates, tube feeding is the preferable treatment. When the puppy is mature enough, you may begin considering surgical alternatives with your veterinarian. After surgery, many dogs with cleft palates are able to enjoy normal lives.

Method 1: Caring for the Puppy

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Identify the palate as soon as possible

1. Identify the palate as soon as possible. Rub your finger on the top of the pups’ lips as soon as they are born. It is possible that they have a cleft palate if you feel an indentation in their upper palate. Sneezing often and having a “runny” nose after breastfeeding may also suggest a cleft palate.

  • A cleft palate is most likely present if pups are not suckling or are unable to eat. Puppies with cleft palates often grab on to their mother’s breast but are unable to feed.
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Take your pet to the veterinarian

2. Take your pet to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to identify the severity of the palate cleft as well as whether it is a hard or soft palate cleft. The veterinarian may also provide you with materials for tube feeding the puppy.

  • Puppies with cleft palates often have additional abnormalities. Make sure the vet does a thorough checkup to rule out any other possibly troublesome illnesses.
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Determine if the puppy should be removed from the rest of the litter

3. Determine if the puppy should be removed from the rest of the litter. If the puppy is undeveloped in other ways, he or she may be in danger if left with the litter. You may be permitted to keep the puppy with the litter in certain situations. This is perfect since pups are unable to control their own temperature, and the mother dog’s heat keeps them warm.

  • If the puppy is too little and you are concerned that it may be crushed by the other pups, you may decide to separate them.
  • The puppy is rejected by the mother dog, who refuses to feed or warm it.
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Make a 24-hour care plan

4. Make a 24-hour care plan. Puppies with cleft palates must be cared for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is due to the pups’ demand for hand feeding every two to three hours (including nighttime). If you must remove the puppy from its litter, you must also keep the puppy warm and assist them in eliminating by hand.

  • Because cleft palate procedures usually take place around the three-month mark, you will need to keep up your care regimen around the clock until the surgery.
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Keep an eye out for indications of pneumonia

5. Keep an eye out for indications of pneumonia. The puppy may be at risk for pneumonia or other respiratory disorders depending on the severity of the cleft palate. These might be caused by inadvertently inhaling milk into their nose or lungs. You may avoid this by tube feeding the puppy rather than breastfeeding or bottle feeding it. If you see any of the following signs in your puppy, take him to the clinic right away.

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose and nasal congestion
  • Breathing is difficult.
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Method 2: Feeding the Puppy

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Determine the puppy’s weight

1. Determine the puppy’s weight. The amount you feed the puppy will be determined by their weight. If you’re using a brand of puppy milk replacer, the instructions may be printed on the side of the box. Otherwise, you might stick to the following basic guidelines:

  • If they weigh less than eight ounces, give them one cc of milk each ounce of weight.
  • If they weigh between 8 and 24 ounces, give them one and a half cc of milk each ounce.
  • If they weigh more than 28 ounces, give them one ounce of milk every pound of body weight.
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Get the puppy milk alternative ready

2. Get the puppy milk alternative ready. Powdered or readymade puppy milk replacer may be purchased at a pet shop, veterinarian’s office, or online. You may also design your own. Prepare the milk replacement according to package recommendations, then heat it in the microwave for 3 to 5 seconds. Before feeding the puppy, make sure the milk is warm but not hot.

  • To produce your own puppy milk alternative, combine 10 ounces of goat’s milk, one tablespoon light corn syrup, one cup plain white whole milk yogurt, and one egg yolk. Use entire (not low-fat) dairy products at all times.
  • Commercial brands of puppy milk include Just Born, Nurturall, and Esbilac. These are available in pre-prepared cans or powder form.
  • If you are unable to get puppy milk replacer or prepare a homemade equivalent during the first 24 hours, you may use pedialyte. However, this is not a long-term solution.
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Fill the syringe with liquid

3. Fill the syringe with liquid. In general, a 12 cc feeding syringe should be used (or a syringe without the needle). Fill it with the appropriate quantity of milk replacement depending on the puppy’s weight, using the measurements on the side.

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Connect the syringe to a feeding tube

4. Connect the syringe to a feeding tube. A lengthy tube will be inserted into the puppy’s esophagus. After attaching it, draw a little amount of formula through the tube until a drop or two emerges out the other end. Insert the tube into the puppy’s mouth. They may suck on the tube’s end, assisting you in gently guiding the tube to the back of their throat.

  • If you’ve never tube fed a puppy before, ask your doctor to instruct you how to do it correctly. Your veterinarian may be able to give you with a feeding tube and designate how far the tube should extend.
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Slowly press down on the syringe

5. Slowly press down on the syringe. Place the puppy on your lap, one hand behind its head. Slowly push down on the plunger of the syringe while holding it vertically above the puppy’s head. If you move too rapidly, the milk may enter their nose or they may receive air in their stomach. Stop if you observe milk dripping from their nose or lips.

  • When you’re finished, squeeze the tube’s end and rapidly remove it from the puppy’s mouth.
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Burp the dog

6. Burp the dog. Hold the puppy up to your shoulder, belly to belly, and head to head. Pat their back gently till they burp. This will aid in the discharge of any air that may have been trapped in their stomachs as a result of tube feeding.

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Massage the puppy to assist them in eliminating

7. Massage the puppy to assist them in eliminating. Typically, the mother licks the puppy before or after breastfeeding to assist the puppy discharge itself. You will have to do this in lieu of your mum. Use a warm, moist washcloth, cottonball, or tissue to clean the area. Gently touch the puppy’s genitals and anus until he or she urinates and defecates.

  • If you can’t get the puppy to excrete after feeding, try doing it before.
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How to Save a Newborn Puppy with a Cleft Palate 20

8. Do this every two to four hours. For the first week or two, newborns may need to be fed every two hours. Following that, you may begin feeding them every three to four hours. You may start feeding them every five hours when they’re 12 ounces.

Method 3: Getting the Surgery Performed

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Locate a reputable animal hospital

1. Locate a reputable animal hospital. Cleft palate surgery is not performed by all veterinarians. If yours does not, look for a nearby animal hospital that not only does these procedures but also has a good success record. Some dogs may need several procedures, although this is less likely with a skilled surgeon.

  • Request a recommendation from your veterinarian. They will most likely know of an animal hospital that can assist you.
  • Cleft palate procedures are very difficult on young animals, and your veterinarian will most likely advise you to wait until they are three to four months old. Some procedures may not be performed on puppies until they are eight or nine months old.
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Keep an eye on the cleft palate

2. Keep an eye on the cleft palate. Cleft palates may close on their own in certain cases. If your veterinarian recommends you to wait until the puppy is older, you should inspect the palate on a regular basis to see how it is healing. If you suspect that your palate is becoming broader, you should consult with your veterinarian to discuss your alternatives.

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After surgery, they should protect their mouths

3. After surgery, they should protect their mouths. After the procedure, your puppy will most likely be needed to wear an Elizabethan collar for one or two weeks. This is to keep their lips clean. You should also avoid offering children toys, hard foods, snacks, or other items that they will put in their mouth.

  • Distract the puppy if you spot them messing with their sutures or chewing on anything they shouldn’t. Call out their name, clap your hands, or take them up and move them. This may assist to avoid the need for a second operation.
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Provide them with soft meals

4. Provide them with soft meals. You will be unable to offer them hard kibble, treats, or other foods for at least two weeks to preserve their sutures. Feed them no food that requires chewing. Your veterinarian will provide you with precise guidelines for their post-surgery nutrition.

  • You may give them canned food for two weeks if they have a mild palate cleft.
  • You will need to combine their meals if they have a hard palate cleft. You will have to feed them by hand or via a feeding tube.
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