Treating Cat’s Cleft Palate

Morty - Cat who had a cleft palateMorty is a six year old male domestic short hair cat who showed up at his owner’s door four years ago as a stray.  Because Morty was a stray, the owner does not have any information of health concerns in the past.  When his Morty’s new owner adopted him, she noticed that he would sneeze a lot and food was getting stuck in the roof of his mouth.  His regular veterinarian diagnosed a defect in his hard palate and referred him to Eastside Veterinary Dentistry for surgical correction.

Examination demonstrated that there was a cleft palate on the left side of the hard palate.  There was food packed through the opening into the nasal passage.  Over the last two years the owner has been dealing with this by trying to irrigate the food out of the cleft in his hard palate.  Understandably this was not a procedure that Morty enjoyed!

Below are details and photos of how Dr. Matson treated Morty’s cleft palate:

  1. The first step of the procedure was to extract all the teeth on the left side where the cleft was present.  This allows for the tissue to heal in preparation for closure of the cleft.
  2. 5 weeks after the extractions were done, Morty returned for closure of the defect. (Picture 1)
  3. The gingiva has healed and is ready for surgery. The mucosa from the inner lip was elevated and brought over to cover the defect. (Picture 2)
  4. The tissue was sutured in place and an Elizabethan collar placed to keep Morty from rubbing his face. (Picture 3)
  5. At two week recheck, the surgery site has healed with complete closure of the cleft.  (Picture 4)

Now Morty is able to eat without food building up in his nose!