Two 7-week-old Pit Bull Terrier puppies arrived stray at DCHS at the beginning of June. Shelter staff named them May and Rue. Both were very young and in rough shape, but were very friendly and social. After being examined by the shelter’s medical staff and completing their 7 day stray holding period, May was medically cleared and quickly adopted. Rue’s journey is not quite as smooth.
Upon further medical examination, it was determined that Rue has a cleft lip and a cleft palate. This condition is most often associated with people, but it can happen to dogs, too. “A cleft palate means that there is a gap in the roof of the mouth that opens into the nasal sinus,” says Dr. Erica Smedberg, DCHS Shelter Veterinarian. This can cause problems when the animal eats or drinks. Food and water can go into the nose and become very uncomfortable. “Some of Rue’s teeth are also in the wrong position and need to be removed prior to fixing the the cleft palate,” says Smedberg.
"The surgery Rue needs is so much more than just reconstructive surgery,” says Gayle Viney, DCHS Public Relations Coordinator. Without surgery, Rue will face difficult conditions for the rest of her life such as: nasal congestion, coughing, gagging, and difficulty eating and breathing.
Rue will need several incisors and possibly an adult canine tooth extracted before the surgery to repair her cleft palate can be performed. The type of repair needed for the cleft palate is not always successful the first time, even with a specialist, so follow-up surgery may be required. Rue’s best chance for a full recovery is to have the surgery done with a dentistry specialist. Plans are underway with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine to collaborate with DCHS and Westside Family Pet Center.
Surgery will be scheduled as soon as possible, but in the meantime Rue will rest comfortably in a loving foster home. DCHS hopes to give Rue the chance to be a happy, healthy dog in a permanent loving home*, but they need your help!
DCHS is excited to announce that the funds have been raised to give Rue the surgery she needs to repair her cleft lip and palate! We are so grateful to be part of such a generous community and thank you all for giving Rue the chance at a happy, healthy life.
Thank you to WKOW 27 for telling Rue's story to raise funds and help her heal.
Rue received her first surgery (a tooth extraction) on Monday, August 6. She is doing well. Veterinary staff is expecting her to recover for about two weeks before she is ready to have surgery to repair her cleft palate and lip.
Rue had surgery to repair her cleft palate and lip today. A specialist came in to do the procedure and Westside Family Pet Clinic donated their space. Everything went well and Rue is now in recovery mode. There is a chance that Rue will need more surgery in the future, but this is a giant first step!
*Please note: Rue is not currently available for adoption and no adoption holds are being taken. Her surgery and recovery needs to be complete before she is made available. Stay tuned on our website for updates on this girl.
To Make a Contribution
To help other animals that need to heal, please donate to our Help Me Heal fund.
- Select "Donate to: Help Me Heal" when donating online.
- Mail or drop off your donation at Dane County Humane Society's main shelter (5132 Voges Road, Madison WI 53718). Write "Help Me Heal" in the memo.