Cleft palate is the most common congenital orofacial defect in dogs. Although this topic has been extensively studied in experimental dogs, current literature on clinical patients is limited to case reports and small case series studies with many individual opinions based on experience. This narrative review summarizes the literature of the last 10 years with application to clinical practice, focusing on the preparation of the patient until surgery, options for surgical management, and perioperative complications. Surgical treatment must be performed to obtain separation between the nasal/nasopharyngeal and oral/oropharyngeal passages. This will allow the dog to have independent function and reduce clinical signs associated with food, water, and other foreign material entering the respiratory tract. Surgical treatment has good to excellent outcomes when the procedure is carefully planned and appropriately executed despite the high rates of postoperative oronasal fistula reported.
To describe the use of a barrier membrane in dogs for repair of congenital hard palate defects and closure of oronasal fistulae (ONF) remaining after previous cleft palate (CFP) repair.
7 client-owned dogs.
The hard palate defect was closed with medially positioned flaps (Von Langenbeck technique) or pedicle flaps (2-flap palatoplasty) and a membrane composed of autologous auricular cartilage from the pinna or allogenous fascia lata underlying the mucoperiosteal flaps.
All palate defects were considered to have a high risk of dehiscence based on their type and size and the characteristics of the surrounding tissue. The barrier membrane was used in 5 dogs for repair of congenital hard palate defects and in 2 dogs for closure of ONF remaining after previous CFP repair. Resolution of clinical signs occurred in all cases. Complete success (ie, complete closure of the palate defect and absence of clinical signs) was achieved in 5 dogs (4 with congenital hard palate defects and 1 with an ONF remaining after previous CFP repair). The persistent ONF in 1 dog with functional success (incomplete closure, but no clinical signs) was smaller than prior to surgery.
Barrier membranes underlying mucoperiosteal flaps may constitute an alternative technique in dogs for repair of congenital hard palate defects and closure of ONF remaining after previous CFP repair.