Herbie’s all smiles after specialist care.

July 12, 2022

A puppy born with a significant cleft palate deformity is all smiles after specialist treatment at Southfields.

Cockapoo Herbie was just a few months old when he underwent two surgeries at Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Basildon, Essex.

Southfields’ Head of Dentistry and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery José Ruiz took charge of the case and dramatic ‘before and after’ photographs show how he’s succeeded with a life-changing transformation.

José, a European specialist in veterinary dentistry, explained: “Herbie had an initial surgery to attempt to close both his hard and soft palate.”

Herbie has dental surgery on his hard and soft palate with the veterinary dentistry team at Southfields

“The hard palate was closed using a combination of hinge flaps for first layer and modified ‘Von Langenbeck’ technique for the second layer. Both layers were closed using simple interrupted pattern. We performed a triple layer closure of the soft palate defect, closure of the nasal mucosa and muscular layer with a continuous suture pattern and the oral mucosa layer closed using simple interrupted pattern. Unfortunately, the rostral aspect of the repair broke down, which is a common occurrence in this sort of operation as surgeries of the hard palate are always challenging to perform. A second surgery took place a month later and a transposition flap was used to successfully cover the defect and Herbie has gone on to make a good recovery.”

Herbie after surgery with Southfields veterinary dentistry team.

Delighted owner Rebecca Shalka, from Springfield, Chelmsford, said: “Herbie is enjoying life, drinking out of a water bowl, having dog biscuits, treats and bones – all of which he could never have before.

“We were concerned, as any dog owner would be, about how the operation would go – would it be successful, his recovery and what we needed to do to support Herbie. We met José, who fully explained the operation backed up with drawings of exactly what he planned to do, so we knew when we left that Herbie was in good hands. José then followed up Herbie’s progress, asking us to send pictures of his mouth weekly so he could see how it was healing. Unfortunately, a while later part of the cleft broke down, so we contacted José and he followed up with a second operation which has been successful. We wouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending Southfields to any pet owner; we have been very pleased with all the support we have received from them and José has been fantastic!”

Click here for more information on the veterinary Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery service at Southfields Veterinary Specialists.