Veterinary Nurses Save Puppy Born With Cleft Palate Due To Be Euthanized

Every pet owner thinks their four-legged friend is perfect, but two veterinary nurses have won praise online after refusing to give up on a disabled boxer puppy, who they believe is just as perfect and deserving of love.

In February 2023, a pregnant boxer dog came into the veterinary hospital where Nicole Morvant, 29, and Alyssa Nelson, 30, work, but once the surgery was complete, their job was only just beginning. One of the puppies was born with a cleft palate and was going to be euthanized—that was, until, Morvant and Nelson stepped in.

The two veterinary nurses saw great potential in the puppy, as Morvant explained to Newsweek that they “offered to take her” and give her the care she needs. Now 7 weeks old, the boxer (who is waiting to be named) is thriving, and her owners insist that her disability “does not affect her.”

Morvant said: “The breeder wanted to euthanize her because of her cleft palate, but we refused since this was a fixable issue. So, they signed her over to us.

“Her cleft palate is quite big, but she was able to eat from a bottle in the beginning (as opposed to tube feeding) every three to four hours, and she’s now eating regular soft food a few times a day. She will need surgery to correct it when she’s bigger, which we will do at our hospital in the northeast.”

Boxer puppy with cleft palate
The unnamed boxer puppy pictured after being saved from euthanasia. The veterinary nurses insisted that she can lead a normal life and refused to let her be put down, so they offered to care for…

@nicmorva / TikTok

A cleft palate is a birth defect which causes an opening between the mouth and the nose, and it can occur in the lip, or along the roof of the mouth. According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS), purebred dogs have a higher incidence of a cleft palate, and it’s most common in Boston terriers, Pekingese, bulldogs, beagles, cocker spaniels, and dachshunds.

The impact of the cleft palate will vary depending on its severity, but effects can include frequent sneezing and snorting, a cough when drinking, developing a runny nose, and breathing problems. Surgery is usually performed to correct the cleft, but this is difficult among puppies and kittens, so the ACVS recommends waiting until they’re around 3 to 4 months old.

Since deciding to keep the adorable boxer puppy, Morvant has shared plenty of videos on TikTok (@nicmorva), and she’s already gained plenty of fans. A clip posted on March 17 explaining that they were told “to get rid of her” went viral, and has already generated over 4.6 million views and 338,300 likes.

Morvant hopes to show people that they should never lose hope, because while this pup may look a little different and face some challenges, she’s still worth saving.

“In the beginning, there were so many people on social media saying she was suffering, that it was cruel to keep her alive, and that she isn’t normal,” Morvant told Newsweek. “She’s got a few quirks, but nothing life threatening, and we’re taking everything day by day.

“When people see her in person, they think she’s an adorable tiny puppy. She is either climbing up onto our laps to snuggle for a nap, or being her sassy self and barking—she recently found her voice and absolutely loves to use it.”

Many TikTok users are keen to follow the puppy’s journey, and they’ve commended the veterinary nurses for saving her life. Not to mention, an unexpected outcome which has delighted Morvant is the number of people commenting to share their own experiences with a cleft palate.

The dog is fast becoming a disability advocate in her own right, and many people told Morvant that they were so happy “to see her being saved.”

Morvant said: “All in all, the amount of love she’s received on social media is overwhelming and she now has an entire army behind her cheering her on.”

There’s been so much love and support on TikTok, with one video already gaining more than 8,000 comments so far. One social media user wrote: “I don’t see a cleft palate, all I see is the most beautiful little girl.”

Another person responded: “From someone born with a cleft palate, thank you for not giving up on her!”

While another comment reads: “She’s beautiful and sprinkled with a lot of extra special.”

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