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Might Mobius - Part 1

I think the time has come to talk about the Mighty Mobius ( #mightyMobius ). At Pennridge, we work with a few breeders, and therefore occasionally participate in c-sections. Dr Heller has an affinity for c-sections, so she ends up being the one who does most of them. On the fateful day of Mobius’ birth, there was a French bulldog momma who came in as she went into labor, knowing that she was going to need help giving birth to her large-headed babies. (French bulldogs are not exactly the right shape for breeding, so they pretty much always need c-sections to protect them and their babies during the birthing process!)

As Dr Heller scrubbed into surgery and all of the technicians gathered around to assist her, they knew they were going to have their hands full. Pre-surgical xrays showed at least 7 puppies – so they were all ready to grab babies as they came out to start resuscitating them! One by one the adorable babies came out, covered in placenta, and the awaiting technicians grabbed them and started rubbing them and suctioning out their noses and mouths to get them going! The sounds of tiny babies taking their first breaths and starting to cry for all to hear – is a wonderful thing! In total, there were 9 puppies – one of which was a stillborn, but the remaining 8 were wiggling and yelling bundles of joy!

Once they were all clean and dry, and nestled in their warm bed, Dr Heller started doing some exams to check them out for any major birth defects. Unfortunately for Mobius, his defect nearly cost him his life. Of all the babies, he was the only one with an abnormality, and when she opened his mouth, she saw that he had a pretty significant cleft palate in there, which is not good news.

A cleft palate is basically when the roof of the mouth doesn’t close properly as the baby is growing, which leaves an open hole between the mouth and the nasal passages. As you can imagine, this is life threatening because every time that puppy tries to nurse, they are going to be sucking milk into their sinuses, which is going to go right down into their airways – causing choking, and pneumonia, and typically death. Of course, our entire team was immediately heartbroken. It is a blessing and a curse that all of our staff truly cares about animals, because it sometimes gets us into trouble with situations like this. As Dr Heller spoke with the owner regarding the kind of a commitment we were talking about here, it became obvious that they were not going to be able to make that commitment, having other dogs and kids, and now all of these other puppies to care for. It is a HUGE commitment - we are talking about learning how to tube feed a tiny, less than 1lb puppy, every 2-3 hours for WEEKS. Not to mention, then needing at least 1 reconstructive surgery to repair his palate, so that he can live a normal life. And that is all well and good, if he even makes it that long! Many puppies with cleft palates get pneumonia and pass away when they are just too young for us to do much about it. The odds were stacked hard against Mobius, and his owner made the difficult decision to put him to sleep.

Enter Kira and Harley’s Haven. Of course, the nurses were all distraught – can’t we do something? Can’t someone take him? Jen discussed with them that someone would have to sign up for weeks and weeks of tube feeding around the clock, and that is a big burden. So what did they do? They called Kira. Many of you may know Kira – she is our right-hand man at the practice and plays a major role in Harley’s Haven. She is a kind-hearted, and super dedicated woman – the Barbosa to my Jack Sparrow. As Kira busted into this situation, she immediately agreed to help. She had done this before, and she has such a big heart that she could not stand by when she knew she could help. I vividly remember our conversation when I gently tried to give her an out. ‘You know how big of a commitment this is Kira. We are talking weeks and weeks of round the clock care. And you know full well there is a very real chance despite our best efforts that he still doesn’t make it. I just don’t want you to be set up for heartbreak if that happens.’ And her response? ‘I know, but I also know that I can try to save this puppy, and so therefore I have to try.’ And with that, the tiny puppy was dubbed Mr. Mobius M. Mobius.

The very first tube feeding was a delight. Alison scrambled and got us some formula and supplies, and everyone gathered around this itty-bitty baby, and then stared at me. Oh…I’m doing this? OK, great. But it went fine, and every one thereafter went fine too as the little nugget started to grow with Kira’s love and support.

Check back next week to hear about Mobius’ antics as he grew, and about his cleft palate surgery!

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