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.

  • Signs and symptoms

    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.

    Signs are first recognized in puppies.

    Uncover health risks with Embark

    Embark Breed + Health Test

    Original price:


    Sale price:



    Embark for Breeders Dog DNA Test

    $129 - $159


  • Diagnosis

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

  • Treatment

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

  • What to do if your dog is at risk


    • Seek your veterinarian's opinion with regard to if a surgical correction should be pursued.

  • Genetic Information

    This mutation was first described in the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

    This mutation has an autosomal recessive inheritance, meaning that dogs must have two copies of the mutation in order to show clinical signs. Many causes of cleft lip and cleft palate do not have a known genetic cause at this time.

    Gene names:

    ADAMTS20 ‐ chr

    Inheritance type:


  • Breeds affected

    This health condition affects the following breeds

Learn about your dog’s unique genetic health

Dog owners

Breed identification, health and trait insights, personalized care recommendations, and the world’s first canine relative finder—all in one leading dog DNA test.

Learn about the report for dog owners
Shop the test
Breeding programs

Embark’s test for breeding programs is one comprehensive DNA test designed with your needs in mind.

Learn about the report for breeders
Shop the test