Cleft Palate Surgery
A cleft palate is an opening between the mouth (oral cavity) and the nose (nasal cavity) that occurs when the tissues separating these two cavities do not grow together properly. This birth defect can occur in the lip (“primary cleft palate”, “cleft lip”, or “harelip”) or along the roof of the mouth (“secondary cleft palate”). Within the mouth, the cleft can extend along the bony portion (hard palate), the flexible portion that is used in swallowing (soft palate), or both.
Puppies with a cleft palate cannot make a suction which is necessary for normal nursing. Additionally, a cleft palate allows anything entering the mouth to potentially pass into the nasal passages and sinuses of the pet. This can lead to sinusitis and possibly pneumonia.
If a puppy is eating normally but not gaining (or is losing) weight, suspect a cleft and give us a call. Early detection and correction of this congenital condition with cleft palate surgery can significantly extend a pet’s lifespan and overall health!