A puppy with a cleft palate had been advertised on Craigslist in Virginia. Barely six-weeks-old and weighing less than three pounds, his tiny life held on by a thread when Rescue Dogs Rock NYC stepped up to help. When the pup, dubbed Casper was rescued on Monday morning, he already presented with a discharge from his nose and mouth; since rushed to the emergency veterinarian, the puppy has been diagnosed with pneumonia.
“We know these puppies often don’t make it due to complications with eating and breathing, but we hope Casper will,” stated Stacey Silverstein, co-founder of the rescue organization. “Right now he’s on antibiotics and we know if he does make it, multiple surgeries will likely be in his future. There is no other option.”
A cleft palate is an abnormal opening in the roof of a dog’s mouth and is the result of the failure of the two sides of the palate coming together and fusing during embryonic development. The deformity results in an opening between the nasal passages and the mouth. Treatment is surgical repair of the defect, however most surgeons prefer to wait until the puppy is three to four months of age before operating.
According to PetMd, the symptoms of a cleft palate are:
- Runny nose
- Aspiration pneumonia (pneumonia caused by milk and food contents entering the cleft and infecting the lungs)
- Respiratory difficulty (caused by aspiration pneumonia)
- Difficulty sucking and nursing (for puppies)
- Slow growth
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
Follow Casper’s progress on Rescue Dogs Rock NYC Facebook page. To help, donations can be sent via Donate@rescuedogsrocknyc.org or www.rescuedogsrocknyc.org/donate/ or RDR NYC PO Box 101 NY, NY 10028.
(Photos of Casper with cleft palate courtesy of Rescue Dogs Rock NYC.)