Cleft palate is a condition that affects many people. However, did you know that cleft palate may also affect animals too? Yes, you read it right animals may also get it too –including our cats. In the actual fact, cleft palate in cats is an abnormal opening on the roof of the mouth, it is due to the failure of the two sides of the palate to come all together and fuse throughout the embryonic development. Additionally, a cleft palate results in an opening in between the nasal passages, as well as the mouth. Get to learn more about this feline condition, read on to this article.
Cleft Palate in Cats: What is this feline condition?
The kittens with cleft palate may need surgery to have a higher chance of recovering. Varying on the extent of the condition itself, the diagnosis may range from good to secured. The treatment needs a significant emotional, as well as financial commitment, and the pet owners often choose to have affected cats benevolently euthanized,
Moreover, cleft palate in cats is a kind of birth defect, which occurs when the palate or the root of the mouth fails to fuse properly together and leaves a certain space in between the mouth and the nasal-sinus cavity. This particular defect may affect the bony, hard part of the palate, the flexible, soft is, which is used mainly for swallowing, or both. Further, the condition may happen during the period of gestation and is commonly somewhat obvious at or soon after birth. If left without any treatment, it is not likely that an affected kitten may survive.
Causes of Cat Cleft Palate
The cleft palate is commonly an inherited congenital disease. It is more likely to happen in purebred cats and is typically found in Savannah, Persian, and Siamese cat breeds. Furthermore, the condition happens in female cats more often than in males.
The exposure of a pregnant cat to specific chemicals, medications, cortisone, or the excessive intake of vitamins D and A may also be in connection to the development of cleft palate in cats in the embryo stage.
Symptoms of Cat Cleft Palate
Cleft palate in cats or kittens may exhibit one or more of the symptoms below:
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Chronic sinus infection
- Reduced appetite
- Slow growth
- Weight loss
- Difficulty in breathing
- Milky discharge from the nose when eating
- Difficulty in nursing
- A runny nose
Prognosis for Cat Cleft Palate
When the kittens are born, the mouth must be checked for normal development as a part of an initial examination. In the event that a defect is visible at that time, pet owners might soon see that affected cats having difficulty in eating and might blow milk bubbles out of its nose while nursing. This may warrant an immediate visit to the vet as pneumonia or even death may happen.
Additionally, a veterinarian may perform a complete physical examination, in order to diagnose the cleft palate. The deformities of the front palate are easy to see, yet if the cleft is right further back in the mouth, it might be much harder to diagnose. Anesthesia might be essential in completing the examination. X-rays might also be ordered in checking for pneumonia. Kittens may also need to get examined for the possible presence of some other diseases or heart abnormalities.
Treatments for Cat Cleft Palate
Numerous surgeries are often needed in the repair of the cleft palate in cats or kittens. It’s standard practice to wait up until the kitten has reached 3-4 months of the age before the performance of the surgery. This is what allows the oral cavity to grow, as well as the size of the cleft to minimize.
Advanced knowledge is important to correct the cleft palate surgically. Furthermore, surgery must only be performed by a professional vet. the difficulty of the surgical procedure may depend on the degree of the cleft. Much larger clefts might need the use of dental hardware or tissue grafts. Furthermore, it is also possible that the cleft might reopen after a surgical operation and the cat may keep on having nasal issues. Due to the fact that kittens with cleft palate are likely to be malnourished and underweight, there is an extra risk, in association with anesthesia.
From birth, up until the kitten is already old enough to go through the surgical procedure, special feeding techniques may be needed. It might be possible to feed using a long nipple, which bypasses the cleft area. More often, a feeding tube is required. It is somewhat easy for the cat owners to learn how to insert the tube prior to each meal, or the veterinarian might prefer to place a tube in one side of the neck. Further, the kitten may need to feed each two hours all around the clock. Water is commonly provided with the use of an overhead distributor.
In addition, it is so common for kittens to develop pneumonia when experiencing this feline condition. This should be easily identified and treated as it may be lethal.