• Here are Johnny's two babies that are left with me. Dizzy Lizzy (black girl) is staying with me. She is just like Daddy in a lot of ways, and Mia Bella (red girl that would rather have kisses than bait) will go home when I have her cleft lip fixed-about 7 months.

  • Aw, so sweet and pretty!

  • First Basenji's

    I was not aware that dogs can have defects like that.. but the black and white pup is gorgeous!

  • I wasn't either, does she have any eating or drinking problems? Or breathing issues?

  • They can get cleft lips and/or pallates. Mia Bella has a cleft lip and a frontal hole to her nasal cavity. I tube fed her then hand fed her until she could eat on her own. Some are worse than others. Depending on the severity, sometimes it is better for the puppy not to try to save them. Since she only has a cleft lip and a frontal hole, she will do fine. I will have her face fixed when she is about 6 months. A lot of these puppies get recurring sinus infections from ingestion into the cavity, but she has not had any infections at all and is actually getting bigger than Lizzy now. Here are a few pics of her face. Wanda Pooley did a good article on cleft's in the most recent issue of Modern Basenji.

  • either way, she's very cute.

  • Most Vets consider this mostly a genetic issue, of course there are other reasons, such as infection, exposure to toxins, administration of steroids, metabolic disorders and trauma during pregnancy may also contribute to cleft palates. Glad to hear that she is doing so well.

  • Since there has been no incidence, on either side, of deformities and my husband and I are splitting up, but for now, until the house is sold, we are in the same house, it has been attributed to stress on Sugar. This deformity starts about 2-3 weeks into the splitting of cells. Many vets will not even consider doing this surgery since it is so rarely seen up here. I lucked out and found a great vet surgeon, who has done this sort of surgery, about 1/2 hour from me. He recently moved down here. He did surgery on a French Bulldog with a whole cleft pallate just before Christmas. Here is the blog from their office if anyone is interested.


  • First Basenji's

    She looks so sweet! Quick question.. when would someone make the decision to "save" a dog with such a deformity.. is it up to the breeder or the vet or both?

  • She's adorable…and totally worth saving!

  • It really depends on many different factors in saving a cleft puppy. It depends on the severity, are other deformations evident, how much time and energy can you invest, etc. I was, luckily, able to take her with me everywhere. I had to feed her at the beginning about every hour and a half. She didn't really start gaining right away either, because she was very weak and had lost about 1.5 oz. At first, we thought it was only her lip, but after a few weeks I noticed the hole in her frontal area. She couldn't suck because she couldn't form the suction needed, so she depended on me. Mama Sugar took care of her in between times when I had her with me, so that was good too. The vet wasn't sure, because he had never seen this before in person, what the prognosis was. So we went along and I found the vet surgeon by chance through someone else I know. This is definitely not for everyone to do and the expense and time is enormous. So, I guess the answer would be the breeder making the final decision.

  • i would think it would be very, very hard to place her. (Not b/c of the cleft, but b/c of the amout of time/energy you've spent on her.)

  • Not really. She's had a home for a long time now. They've seen her once (they live about 5 hours from me) and they will be seeing her the end of this month as well. After she started eating on her own, she became one of the bunch, so I've been able to distance my self from her.

  • First Basenji's

    That is so wonderful! Makes me happy that she is already the apple of someones eye!

  • Ohh, I have homes lined up for her. About three of them. Everyone wants the disabled puppy!

  • @nomrbddgs:

    Not really. She's had a home for a long time now. They've seen her once (they live about 5 hours from me) and they will be seeing her the end of this month as well. After she started eating on her own, she became one of the bunch, so I've been able to distance my self from her.

    I'm so glad to hear that - I'm just can't imagine doing all that for a baby and then sending them off to a new (wonderful) home. But I have fostered without a problem, so . . .

  • I am sorry for the stress you are going through. One thing I have learned is "not in the bloodline" is meaningless unless you personally are the breeder for generations. People lie. Breeders many of us thought nearly walked on water have come up proven to lie. So while it may be a fluke, I would breed nothing from this litter. Too many dogs without a potential serious birth defect to risk passing it on.

  • Debra, since you don't know the particulars, you cannot say whether or not anything from this litter would have potential problems. I know the lines. I'm not talking about breeders, I'm talking lines. I have seen cousins on both sides, know and rely on the knowledge of not just one breeder, and I believe I know which ones would 'fudge', the truth, and outright lie. On both sides, I know the breeders from many generations back and littermate breedings as well. Not one has had an issue. It may be a fluke, but there is no way of knowing. And who knows for sure unless it comes up again? Can you really say that one incidence is enough to throw the whole breeding program out the window? I don't measure in 'one time's.' If it happens again, then, and only then, would I throw the breeding program out the window. But, I have other factors to consider with the merging of this line. The line on the one side is almost certainly gone because most of the last three generations were neutered/spayed. So, I had one chance to do an outcross with an almost full bloodline from one side and a line breeding from another line. I'm glad I did it considering Johnny is now gone. All of the puppies picked up his movement-although I think Lizzy is the best. She is fluid, steps out, and, so far, doesn't throw anything 'off.' Unless you understand what is in my mind, you can't understand my breeding program, which BTW, I have been working on for about 8 years to even get to this particular point. So, unless you are in my position, don't pass judgement on my 'serious potential birth defect.' And, if she had had other issues besides just the lip, I would have put her down. Did you think I wouldn't? Have you done any research on clefts? Do you seriously know anything about why, when, where they happen? Or just general knowledge from the internet without talking to people who have dealt with them. I did a lot of research before I even decided to keep her alive after 4 weeks. Including talking to people (breeders) that had puppies with clefts. Both good and bad experiences. And believe me, I know quite of few of the 'responsible, trusted, big name breeders who omit information or just outright lie, and have lied about many things including Fanconi in their lines, PRA, defects like this and other things.

    And, the only stress that I have with this puppy is from the people who have condemned me for keeping her alive. Mostly, the 'old-time, responsible, trusted, 'I've seen it all and done it all', breeders. I have dealt with an abundance of know-it-all breeders like this. Then I have the others, who say 'you just never know until something comes up. Good job, I would have done the same.' And who have supported me knowing that I would not keep a puppy alive, or a breeding program, just for my feelings. These people are few, but they are the newer generation of breeders who believe as I do. If you aren't public about it, where do we get the knowledge if it happens to someone else?

    Believe me, I caught flak for putting Johnny down after 5 hours of surgery. Some people said, but why did you put him down? I generally don't care what others think, although I will take their experience into consideration. But, I also have to do what I feel is right. I could have kept this quiet and not told a soul. But then where would that have gotten me? This is part of the problem with some of these breeders IMO. They keep it under wraps, the vets don't see these dogs that have problems. The vets cannot move forward and the people who get the lineage dogs don't get the knowledge of this type of happening, then they go ahead and breed and low and behold, down the road, this issue comes up and everyone says the same as I did-how did this happen? I just happen to be more open about issues and I get condemned for it as well.

    What's the old saying? Oh yeah, don't judge me until you've walked in my shoes.

    Sorry for venting against you Debra, but you do not know the particulars, so I feel that you cannot make an informed decision on my breeding program and shouldn't pass judgement or comments until you know the whole story. And even what I told you here is just not all of it.

  • I am certain that the lucky family who gets to take baby Bella home is glad you decided not to put her down! And she is adorable.

    As far as people second guessing what you did with Johnny, that's just awful! You know your dog best. And it sounds like you've made you descision out of love and compassion.

  • First, I meant the stress of your divorce.

    Second, yes, I have a hell of a lot of experience with cleft palates– not in basenji but in bulldogs. I learned to TUBE FEED puppies because of cleft palates. Genetics vary from breed to breed, of course, but my caution was in general, not related to just cleft palates.

    Third, anyone who 2nd guessed you on your decision for Johnny needs a butt kicking. Unless someone thinks you are a monster, the decision on when to stop your own dog's suffering if your call only. I am sorry people put their 2 cents worth (not that it was even worth that) to criticize you instead of simply support you.

    Fourth... on the puppy, call me jaded, but I find those quick to put down are not admirable. You seemed to look at the possibility of a healthy good life and chose to put yourself through intense work, financial obligations and care to give this puppy a good life. Unless someone is paying for or being asked to do it FOR you or it is your own vet telling you the dog is suffering and has no chance, to heck with them. How anyone can criticize you for doing your best for a puppy with a chance of a good life is beyond me.

    QUOTE::: Can you really say that one incidence is enough to throw the whole breeding program out the window? <<<

    I guess yesterday I should have left IN what I deleted. Yes, I believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater in some cases, Yes, I can really say if it were my own litter I would very seriously consider spay/neuter all the pups unless I could honestly say that this line is so incredible that it is worth the risk. And I am not talking out of no experience. I discussed this very topic with my friend who feels she should stop all breeding, even after Westminster/major invitational show dogs, because in the last 3 yrs we have come up with OLDER DOGS (over 😎 who, when put on steroids (one had pancreatitis) that developed diabetes. All the people say, oh don't worry about it.. it isn't genetic. BS. When you have 4 dogs from a line who do it, and have NEVER had it happen in the 20 yrs before, it sure as heck is genetic. Sadly the last 2 generations are from that genetic base and so she is pretty much done, nothing of super quality to pull from 3 generations ago. And you know what, she's searching for a new line to buy a pup from. It is heart breaking, but to me she is doing what is utterly the most responsible action. Of course Rottweilers have many more dogs to choose from. But we have gone from almost never hearing of diabetes at any age to suddenly swamped. Something is wrong, and to me, if you suspect what you have may be, stop.

    Given that you know so much of your lines, I am sure you have much better judgement of what has actually been produced. But when you say that it is a new cross, surely you have to consider the likelihood that this particular cross is the issue genetically? I absolutely would step back and ask if the likelihood that this new mesh of genetics is likely the issue.

    However, please hear me... I was not judging you. I was offering an opinion. Unlike Johnny or the puppy, what breeders do affect all of us, so I felt it was okay to voice an OPINION. I am sorry you took it as judging. I was offering it because in the throes of being that close to a situation, sometimes it helps to have someone say something you might not have considered, or were pushing aside because of your involvement. I threw it out there, but I am not judging you whatever you decide to do.

    I will say one more thing. I didn't see anything wrong at ALL with your response, do not feel dumped on, attacked or anything of the kind. I wish I had the ability to RESPOND with so much reserve and clarity where the other person can hear and not react as if punched. 🙂 Really.

    But I do take one thing as really off. Commenting about internet info... sorry, but you missed the boat. The world of crap that people BELIEVE because betty joe and sue told them, or it's what they THINK, or their own experiences isn't often worth a bucket of warm spit when compared to looking at actual RESEARCH on the topic. It isn't. So excuse me for dissing your "knowledge based on experience"... but I have a lot of EXPERIENCE with cleft palate dogs and guess what.. I don't know jack. But I can spend (and did) an hour searching UNIVERSITY/VET research and tell you that human, dog, cow.. makes no difference, every single research says it is GENETIC. Yes, genetic INFLUENCED sometimes by environment.. but genetic. Since you diss internet info, I won't bother to give you a dozen or more links from research stating that. Because of course that ONE PUPPY in the litter may be the only one who got the wrong combo to help create it... but at this point in time, I find nothing that suggests it develops -- no matter the environmental influences (even drugs) -- without also having genetic predisposition.

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