Elongated Soft Palate
What is an elongated soft palate?
The soft palate is the fleshy flap of tissue that is located at the upper back part of the throat that divides the nasal and oral cavities. A healthy, normally functioning soft palate acts like a block to prevent food or liquid that a cat is swallowing from accidentally entering the air passage (nasopharnyx). The soft palate touches the epiglottis, which in turn is attached to the base of the tongue in healthy cats.
How does my cat get Elongated Soft Palate?
This rare feline condition can be inherited or occur as a result of palates failing to fully develop in kittens during pregnancy. In rare circumstances, a mouth injury may create palate problems.
How do I know if my cat has Elongated Soft Palate?
Young kittens with this condition make snoring sounds when they breathe or appear to gag or cough and are usually underweight and undersized. You may notice that your kitten seems to dribble water from her nose when drinking or eating. As a feline with this disorder gets older, the snoring will increase in volume, especially during sleep or naps. Your veterinarian will confirm the diagnosis by listening to the breathing with a stethoscope and by examining the palate while the cat is sedated. In young kittens, chest X-rays may rule out similar diseases such as pneumonia, heart abnormalities or a narrowed trachea – or the presence of a foreign object lodged in the throat. Unfortunately, there is no blood test yet available that can accurately identify soft palate disorders.
What can I do about Elongated Soft Palate?
Once the diagnosis has been identified, treatment depends on the age of the feline and the severity of the disorder. Young kittens may need to be tube fed until they surpass three months of age – and are old enough to undergo corrective surgery, if necessary. Surgical procedures to shorten the palate do have an associated risk but are effective in opening the airways. Once a cat comes back home, it is important to keep her calm and quiet as well as to supervise meal time to ensure the cat is properly eating and drinking without gagging or coughing. Your veterinarian may also prescribe antibiotics after the surgery to reduce the risk of infection associated with aspiration pneumonia. Expect to bring your cat back for follow-up visits for your veterinarian to monitor postoperative recovery.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting Elongated Soft Palate?
Breed selection is step number one in preventing this disorder. If your cat has been diagnosed, take extra effort to keep your cat at a healthy weight.
Are there certain breeds that get Elongated Soft Palate more often?
This is a rare condition in cats, but Abyssinian, Persian and Burmese breeds been linked to elongated soft palates.