Clinical characteristics of horses and foals diagnosed with cleft palate in a referral population: 28 cases (1988-2011). Academic Article uri icon


  • The objective of this case series was to characterize the population, case presentations, and outcomes of 28 equids diagnosed with cleft palate over a 25-year period. The incidence of cleft palate was 0.04%. The median age at presentation was 2 mo (range: 1 d to 3 y). Fifty percent of the animals were < 2 mo old, 21% were 2 mo but < 1 y old, and 29% were 1 y of age or older. Males and females were nearly equally represented. Short-term outcomes included euthanasia in 50%, surgical repair in 11%, supportive care in 4%, and no treatment in 32% of cases; 46% of the animals survived to discharge. Defects involving both the hard and soft palate and/or aspiration pneumonia generally had less favorable outcomes. Though cleft palate is rare in horses, it should be considered as a differential diagnosis in horses of all ages with nasal discharge, a cough, a history of recurrent respiratory infections, poor growth, or chronic submandibular lymphadenopathy. Endoscopic evaluation of the pharynx may aid in earlier diagnosis and prognostication for owners.

published proceedings

  • Can Vet J

author list (cited authors)

  • Shaw, S. D., Norman, T. E., Arnold, C. E., & Coleman, M. C.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Shaw, Sarah D||Norman, Tracy E||Arnold, Carolyn E||Coleman, Michelle C

publication date

  • January 2015