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    Cleft Palate in Dogs

    A cleft palate, occurring in up to 25% of dogs, happens when the roof of the mouth doesn’t close properly during development, creating a hole between the mouth and nasal cavity.


    Detection and Symptoms

    Veterinarians visually examine new-born puppies for cleft palates. Signs include difficulty suckling, coughing, and milk bubbling from the nose. More subtle symptoms may include sneezing, snorting, failure to grow, or breathing difficulties.

    Treatment of Cleft Palate

    Treatment varies based on severity, age at diagnosis, and complications like aspiration pneumonia. Small primary clefts may not cause issues. Surgical treatment is necessary for secondary cleft palates, preventing infections and aiding feeding. Surgery costs £1489 at Animal Trust.

    Feeding and Aftercare

    Affected puppies need frequent bottle or tube feeding. Weaning onto solid foods may begin at 4 weeks. Aspiration pneumonia may require antibiotics and hospitalization before surgery. The timing and technique of surgery depend on the puppy’s health and palatal defect severity.


    Most cases have an excellent long-term prognosis post-surgery, but some may experience complications like respiratory infections. Dogs with cleft palates shouldn’t have puppies due to increased risks.

    Concerned About Your Dog? Act now!


    Animal Trust is a trading name of Animal Trust Vets CIC, a community interest company registered in England and Wales. Company Registration No: 07938025

    Registered Office: Animal Trust Administration Centre, Cedab Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4FE