Cleft lip/palate

What is ... ?: 

 This is an opening in the lip or the roof of the mouth that occurs due to failure of normal fusion processes during embryonic development. Cleft palate and cleft lip may result from either hereditary or environmental causes (such as the use of certain drugs during pregnancy).

How is ... inherited?: 

Cleft palate is believed to be an autosomal recessive trait in the Brittany spaniel. In the English and French bulldog, pointer, and shih tzu, the trait may be autosomal dominant with incomplete penetrance.

What does ... mean to your dog & you?: 

 Affected pups are born with the condition. A minor defect will cause little or no problem, while a more severe defect will cause signs such as a chronic nasal discharge (that may include food), poor growth, aspiration pneumonia (from inhalation of food), or even death.

How is ... diagnosed?: 

 Your veterinarian will diagnose these conditions on physical examination.

How is ... treated?: 

 Mild problems may not require any treatment, but more serious defects will require surgical repair to prevent complications such as aspiration pneumonia.

Breeding advice: 

 Affected animals should not be used for breeding, and it is prudent to avoid breeding their parents and siblings as well.


What breeds are affected by ... ?