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This is a Skeletal condition.

Cleft Palate, CP1

What is Cleft Palate, CP1?

Cleft palate (with and without cleft lip) occurs during embryonic development. This complex birth defect can result from genetic variations, environmental exposures, and their interactions.

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

Affected dogs may present with clefts of the hard and soft palate, an overbite (shorter mandible/lower jaw), and an absent or poorly developed nasal septum (cartilage that divides the nasal cavity). The cleft of the palate allows saliva and food to pass from the oral cavity into the nasal cavity. Affected dogs may sneeze and snort, cough and gag when they drink water or milk, have poor growth due to difficulty eating, and are predisposed to respiratory infections.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Signs are first recognized in puppies, often when they are only days old.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

The cleft of the hard palate is typically easy to see, however, examination of the soft palate usually requires anesthesia. Thoracic (chest) radiographs may show signs of pneumonia.

How is this condition treated?

Very small clefts may create no functional abnormalities. Surgical intervention may be needed for larger clefts.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

  • Young puppies may be unable to nurse. Some older puppies may need to be fed via a feeding tube to increase caloric intake and reduce the risk of aspiration pneumonia until surgery can be performed.
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