OBJECTIVE To determine and identify variables associated with outcomes of surgical repair of congenital palatal defects in dogs.
DESIGN Retrospective case series with nested observational study.
ANIMALS 26 dogs that underwent surgical repair of congenital palatal defects at 2 veterinary teaching hospitals from 2007 to 2016.
PROCEDURES Data were collected from medical records regarding dog age and body weight at the time of surgical defect repair, prior surgical history, skull type (brachycephalic, mesocephalic, or dolichocephalic), surgical technique used for defect repair, and defect severity. Functional outcome as well as frequency and location of oronasal fistula (ONF) formation were recorded. These outcomes were compared among various groups.
RESULTS Surgical defect repair achieved functional success in 22 of the 26 (85%) dogs. An ONF formed after initial repair in 13 (50%) dogs, and the most common location was the hard palate. Hard palate ONF formation was more common in dogs > 8 months of age at the time of initial repair; ONF at the junction between the hard and soft palates was more common in dogs > 8 months of age at the time of initial repair and in dogs with a history of failed surgical repair. An unsuccessful functional outcome was more common in dogs weighing < 1 kg (2.2 lb) at the time of initial repair.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Patient age, patient size, and defect characteristics should be taken into consideration when planning and assessing prognoses for surgical repair of congenital palatal defects in dogs.