Part II of our blog on clef palates in canine and feline neonates!
Fact #11: Affected animals often develop signs of upper respiratory disease, including sneezing, coughing and discharge of milk from the nostrils. This is because liquids (like milk from the mother) are allowed to pass in the respiratory airways.
Fact #12: These patients are predisposed to aspiration pneumonia,laryngotracheitis and chronic rhinitis. If nothing is attempted, they might choke or develop a fatal bronchopneumonia.
Fact #13: Surgical correction can be attempted. However the procedure has to be delayed until 8-24 weeks of age, when there is enough tissue to close the cleft and when the puppy/kitten anesthesia is easier to manage.
Fact #14: More than one surgical procedure might be required to achieve complete repair.
Fact #15: If the surgical option is picked, it is important to keep in mind that the affected puppy/kitten will need to be tube-fed until weaning. Even after that, extra-precautions must be taken to avoid development of aspiration pneumonia.
Fact #16: A puppy/kitten with a cleft palate requires LOTS of care. For instance these animals need to be tube-feed 8 times a day during their first week of life. This is NOT an easy task, seek your vet’s advices in case you wonder if you’re up to the challenge.
Fact #17: Puppies that will make it to surgery will usually have a totally normal life. It is however not recommended to use them as breeding dogs, because of the potential genetic determinism of the defect.
Fact #18: In women, folic acid supplementation is recommended during gestation to prevent development of cleft palates in newborn infants. In dogs, 3 scientific studies showed that folic acid supplementation has the same preventive effect.
Fact #19: In order to supplement your pregnant bitch/queen with folic acid, there are two options: oral supplements can be used (see with your vet) or feed a diet already supplemented in folic acid (like our Ht42D for bitches or our Queen for queens). The supplemented diets make it easier in terms of observance.
Fact #20: As previously said, the development of the neural tube stops at 30 days of gestation. Folic acid supplementation must therefore be initiated since the beginning of pregnancy to be fully efficient. No point starting supplementing after 30 days of gestation.
Fact #21: Keep in mind that folic acid supplementation will have no effect if the problem is of genetic origin, or induced by drugs administered during pregnancy.
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