Friday's REPRO TIP - Recognize this birth defect? This is a great picture of a CLEFT PALATE, a congenital defect commonly seen in puppies. Congenital? Hereditary? What's the difference anyway? Congenital means "present from birth", while heritable means "able to be inherited" or "transmissible from parent to offspring". A cleft palate (most often congenital, likely inherited) is an abnormal opening in the roof/palate of the mouth, resulting from failure of the two sides of the palate to fuse together during development in the embryo. End result? An opening between the nasal passage and the mouth - so when puppies first start to nurse, milk typically comes running out the nose, making nursing sometimes impossible. Puppies often end up aspirating milk into their respiratory tract, often ending in pneumonia and death. This puppy was tube-fed for several weeks, with several ups and downs in its growth and development, and is currently awaiting surgical correction that is planned for sometime in the next 4-6 weeks.
A great reference to the most common congenital and heritable disorders in dogs? Check out this reference compiled with the assistance of Dr. W. Jean Dodds and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, including genetic predisposition to diseases. A GREAT RESOURCE FOR ALL BREEDERS!