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Cleft Palate in a Cat

This stray cat was brought in by its new owner due to a nasal discharge, breathing difficulties and eye issues. After examination it was found to have a whole in the roof of its mouth. This called cleft palate.


A cleft palate typically looks like what it sounds like: a hole in the roof of the mouth. That hole may be larger or smaller and it may vary in location (closer to the front or back of the mouth), but most are readily identifiable at birth. Some cleft palate defects may extend so far forward as to affect the lip as well.


There are a variety of techniques available, the choice being dependent on the size, position, and severity of the palatal deficit. The most commonly used techniques involve making parallel incisions in the mucous membranes either side of the deficit. The soft tissue is undermined, in order to make it more mobile. The leading edge of the deficit is cut with a scalpel blade in order to freshen it and help it to fuse together. The flaps are then mobilised to cover the gap. The aim is to place the sutures over bone rather than over the gap.

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