Cleft Palate In Cats

A cleft palate is characterized by the failure of the palate (roof of the mouth) to close during the cat’s development. Affected cats are prone to various health issues because of the opening between their mouth and nasal passages. Most cases of cleft palate in cats is genetic in nature. There are certain feline breeds that appear to be genetically prone to the condition including Persian cats, Siamese, ragdoll, ocicat, savannah, and Norwegian forest cat. However, it can also affect cats of any breed. There are also instances when cleft palate occurs in kittens whose mothers are exposed to certain chemicals (such as griseofulvin or vitamin A or D) while they are pregnant. These chemicals have been shown to interfere with the development of the embryo. 

Kittens with cleft palates are prone to bouts of coughing. They may have runny noses and don’t have much appetite eventually leading to loss of weight. They may also have difficulty nursing. You may notice milk passing out of the nose of the kitten while they are nursing or when bottle-fed. There is a possibility for food or liquid to enter the lungs via the cleft palate which can lead to respiratory problems and possibly pneumonia. Your Folsom, CA veterinarian may recommend surgery to correct the problem. This is the only treatment that can successfully correct a cleft palate. However, there may be a need for the cat to undergo multiple surgeries until the cleft palate can be fully closed.


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