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Skeletal

This is a Skeletal condition.

Cleft Lip and/or Cleft Palate

What is Cleft Lip and/or Cleft Palate?

Cleft lip with and without cleft palate is a condition of embryonic development. Animals are bilateral animals: we have two eyes, two ears, etc. that center around a midline. The mouth, though there is just one, is symmetrical and is formed by two planes of tissues that grow towards and fuse at our mildline. Cleft palate occurs when the fusion of the roof of the mouth is incomplete; cleft lip occurs when just the fusion of the upper lip is incomplete. Cleft lip without cleft palate is a relatively cosmetic condition that can be corrected surgically if desired. However, puppies that also have cleft palate, where the roof of the mouth does fully fuse, can have difficulty eating and may present for weight loss. They are also more likely to accidentally aspirate food and are often noted to have persistent coughing and a runny nose due to respiratory infections; in severe cases this can progress to pneumonia. Once identified, cleft palate can be surgically repaired. While cleft lip and palate can occur due to in utero exposure to certain toxins, it has been described to be genetically inherited in the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

Puppies that have cleft palate can have difficulty eating and may present for weight loss. They are also more likely to accidentally aspirate food and are often noted to have persistent coughing and a runny nose due to respiratory infections; in severe cases this can progress to pneumonia.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Signs are first recognized in puppies.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Genetic testing and clinical signs can be used to diagnose this condition.

How is this condition treated?

Cleft lip without cleft palate is a relatively cosmetic condition that can be corrected surgically if desired. Cleft palate can often be surgically repaired.

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