On February 6th 2012 in the litter was something I've never experience in all the litters I've had. My Cleffy! Cleft Palate baby, most Vets would recommend putting down, not me! I said show me how to tube her and home we went.
She has a Cleft palate and not only that, her back legs are fused at both joints. So her back legs are straight. Abnormal yes, but I love her.
Up every two hours in the night with her like she was my own baby. Did all the duties a mother would. Faithfully set my alarm to tend to little Cleffy. Tried the bottle for awhile but figured out she wasn't getting enough to get even a slow weight gain that the Clefts are supposed to have. So switched to syringe feeding along with my pinky finger which worked great. I had the vet show me how to tube feed but was very skeptical to do as tube feeding can make them aspirate and get pneumonia, deadly. So wanted to do what I was comfortable with and it worked great using the syringe. Syringe fed her for about 4 weeks and like suggested on a great site I ran into that helped me tremendously was to go right from the formula to solid food. No soft food like the rest of her litter since it would get smashed up into her cleft. Here is the link to site that helped me. Hennwood Cleft Palate Page
I also used the homemade formula they suggested as the formula I got from the vet just wasn't high enough in calories for her to gain weight on.
1 cup whole milk
2 egg "yolks"-do be sure to separate and dispose of the whites
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 Tablespoon corn syrup
Plus I would add into the formula Nutri-Cal that I got from the vet for extra calories. She gained weight finally on this concoction. I did hear that Goats Milk is real close to the mothers milk, I will try that in the future if need be. I wanted to make a page dedicated to her not only cause I love her to death but in hopes to help someone else that decided to take on a cleft baby. It is totally worth the time and effort! A lot of work at first but after you get thru the formula stage which is the scariest part trying to avoid pneumonia, it is a piece of cake after that. They can live a normal happy life like a "normal" dog. As long as they are thriving and healthy they are just fine. The Cleft pup does have a really slow weight gain and is totally fine, that is what you want. Not to over feed which will make them aspirate.
For awhile she would fit in palm of my hand
Cleffy sleeping with a litter mate
Content... Full Belly!
She would suck her paw after feeding
She's getting bigger! And ears are starting to go up! Haa Haa... Cleffy...Your an English Bulldog!
We doggy sat Chloe, pup from past litter. Here is Cleffy checking her out
Tug of war!
This is Cleffy today at 6 months old
I had a hard time at first telling her apart from litter mates so I knitted her a little necklace.
Cleffy playing with a litter mate we Doggy Sat.. Izzy
Here they are about 6 months old from same litter and Izzy weighs Approx. 30 lbs and Cleffy is 10 lbs.
This is how you will find Mrs. Cleffy on most days, with a ball in her mouth!
O.K., ears have decided to go up! Haa haa, still love you Cleffers! ;)