Case: Soft palate resection with a surgical laser

The soft palate is at the back of the mouth. For those who remember the Peanuts cartoons, the soft palate is the dangly bit you can see when Lucy throws her head back and yells at Charlie Brown! It sometimes can get “sucked” into the airway and cause increased respiratory sounds (usually worse during breathing in), exercise intolerance and even collapse and cyanosis (the patient’s membranes  go blue because of poor oxygen levels in the peripheral blood).  Signs are worse during fast breathing and so are worse during exercise, stress, excitement, panting and hot weather.

 

The soft palate is shortened, and this can be done with surgical instruments and suturing, or with a surgical laser which is faster and reduces the risk of haemorrhage.

 

Overlong soft palate is common in some breeds, like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It is often found in combination with other airway abnormalities in the short nosed (brachycephalic) breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs, and forms part of the so called Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome.

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