Louis, a 1year old Springer Spaniel, presented to us at West Midlands Referrals with a massive palate defect. We are frankly amazed that he had managed to survive puppyhood. Drinking milk is no easy task when you can’t make a seal in your mouth to suck.
And if you can, defects like this often end up with milk going “down the wrong way” into the lungs, leading to aspiration pneumonia and “game over”.
Our hearts sank when we saw the soft palate gap to be fixed, but when the edges of the soft palate (a the back) were pulled, they could be brought together, and we closed this deficit in three layers,
The hard palate cleft was closed in layers using a flap elevated from one side and hinged at the opening.
A gastrostomy feeding tube was placed so food and water could be directly introduced into the stomach, bypassing the mouth while the wound healed.