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Use of a split-thickness soft palate hinged flap and bilateral buccal mucosal rotation flaps for one-stage repair of a bilateral hypoplastic soft palate in a dog

Ronan A. MullinsGilabbey Veterinary Hospital, Vicars Rd, Togher, Cork, Ireland.

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Shane R. GuerinGilabbey Veterinary Hospital, Vicars Rd, Togher, Cork, Ireland.

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Kathryn M. PratschkeSchool of Veterinary Medicine, College of Medical and Veterinary Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G61 1QH, Scotland.

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Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 14-week-old 8.5-kg (18.7-lb) sexually intact female Springer Spaniel was evaluated because of chronic rhinitis with bilateral mucopurulent nasal discharge. The dog had a history since birth of sneezing and oronasal reflux of food and liquid.

CLINICAL FINDINGS Oral examination under anesthesia revealed a short, incompletely formed soft palate with bilateral clefts. A pseudouvula was not a prominent feature of the condition in this dog.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME The dog underwent 1-stage reconstruction of the soft palate by means of a split-thickness soft palate hinged flap and bilateral buccal mucosal rotation flaps. Long-term follow-up obtained 3 years after surgery revealed the dog to be in good general health, with resolution of oronasal reflux; however, occasional episodes of mild sneezing and nasal discharge persisted. Oral examination under sedation revealed attenuation of the bilateral clefts; however, a normal soft palate length was not achieved.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Compared with previously described techniques, this technique offered the possibility of 1-stage reconstruction of the soft palate in dogs, rather than having 2 staged procedures performed, and a robust tissue combination that was expected to be less prone to trauma. This technique may be particularly suitable for affected dogs where a pseudouvula is not a prominent feature and appears to be applicable to a variety of skull morphologies. Owners should be made aware that the absence of normal palatine muscle within the reconstructed palate may affect function, but even where normal function is not regained, a good quality of life with minimal clinical signs may be achieved.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 14-week-old 8.5-kg (18.7-lb) sexually intact female Springer Spaniel was evaluated because of chronic rhinitis with bilateral mucopurulent nasal discharge. The dog had a history since birth of sneezing and oronasal reflux of food and liquid.

CLINICAL FINDINGS Oral examination under anesthesia revealed a short, incompletely formed soft palate with bilateral clefts. A pseudouvula was not a prominent feature of the condition in this dog.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME The dog underwent 1-stage reconstruction of the soft palate by means of a split-thickness soft palate hinged flap and bilateral buccal mucosal rotation flaps. Long-term follow-up obtained 3 years after surgery revealed the dog to be in good general health, with resolution of oronasal reflux; however, occasional episodes of mild sneezing and nasal discharge persisted. Oral examination under sedation revealed attenuation of the bilateral clefts; however, a normal soft palate length was not achieved.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Compared with previously described techniques, this technique offered the possibility of 1-stage reconstruction of the soft palate in dogs, rather than having 2 staged procedures performed, and a robust tissue combination that was expected to be less prone to trauma. This technique may be particularly suitable for affected dogs where a pseudouvula is not a prominent feature and appears to be applicable to a variety of skull morphologies. Owners should be made aware that the absence of normal palatine muscle within the reconstructed palate may affect function, but even where normal function is not regained, a good quality of life with minimal clinical signs may be achieved.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Mullins's present address is Section of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University Veterinary Hospital, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Dr. Pratschke's present address is North East Veterinary Referrals, Northumberland Business Park West, Cramlington, Northumberland, NE23 7RH, England.

This study was performed at Gilabbey Veterinary Hospital, Vicars Road, Togher, Cork, Ireland.

Address correspondence to Dr. Mullins (ronan.mullins@ucdconnect.ie).