Recent breakthroughs in veterinary medicine are going to greatly improve the lives of dogs, all thanks to some unlikely friends: human children.
It started when the 9-month-old Mr. Moo was born with an odd case of cleft palate. His doctor, Dr. Bryden Stanley, the head surgeon for small animals at the Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, was stumped.
“Mr. Moo was particularly difficult because he actually had absolutely no soft palate at all,” she said. Dr. Stanley sought the help of Dr. John Girotto, a pediatric plastic surgeon who specializes in treating cleft palates in children.
Together, they applied the techniques developed at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for repairing and lengthening the palate on Mr. Moo.
The surgery was a complete success. “We had to do a new technique that we believe hasn’t been done on dogs before,” said Dr. Stanley.
Cleft palates occur when the soft palate (the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth) doesn’t join properly. Similarly, cleft lips occur when the lip tissue doesn’t form properly. Both conditions are developed early on in pregnancy.
These facial malformations go beyond aesthetics, they also present a number of disabling health difficulties. Pups born with cleft palates or lips are prone to difficulty breathing, eating and nursing, nasal congestion, poor body conditions and can even experience infection.
Mr. Moo is now giving back to the kids who helped him. Because of the fact that dogs age faster than humans, the technique, a human-based palate surgery, used on Mr. Moo will help doctors better predict how well it will work on kids.
Dr. Girotto, the pediatric surgeon, explains, “That’s a project that in our hospital takes 20 years but at the veterinarian school it’d be evaluated within four or five years.” Turns out human children aren’t unlikely friends after all 🙂
Watch the full video by Michigan State University below:
H/T: CBS News
Featured image via Daily Mail