Cleo's Operation

Cleo was operated on December 30th, 1997 at Tufts University Foster Animal Hospital. Her surgeon was Dr. Berg. The operation was successful the first time and this is a credit to Dr. Berg and the university staff. I can not speak higher of the University and School for the high level of care given to Cleo and Two very nervous parents (us).

The operation took about Two hours and included a dental surgical procedure to remove a displaced lower incisor. Prior to the operation this tooth passed into the cleft and had to be removed once the cleft was closed. Cleo stayed at the hospital overnight, the first time we had been separated for almost Two years.

She was tube fed for Two weeks post operation and we wanted to feed her this way for 30 days. After Cleo's surgery it was more difficult to place the tube with out causing gagging and after Two weeks Cleo fought off any attempts to tube her. We started feeding her with syringe and 1" length of surgical tubing. Cleo caught on immediately to eating food as it was squirted into her mouth but refused to eat from a plate or spoon. We tried many different foods and techniques to transition her to the food bowl. Finally after eating ice cream cake from a paper plate at her birthday party she learned to eat from a spoon and is gradually transitioning to the plate.

At the time of surgery Cleo's cleft had closed considerably but was still large with the rear of the Cleft open about 2mm. At birth the rear 40% of the palate was missing and the cleft was Y shaped open about 2mm behind the teeth and opening to the full width of the palate. Cleo's cleft was not surgically closable at that time and it took over a year for enough tissue growth to make surgery possible.

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