Elongated Soft Palate
This is the
most common breathing disorder. The soft palate is the flap of
skin at the back of the throat. If the palate is too long, it
blocks the airway making it difficult for the dog to breathe.
The dog can also choke on or spit up pieces of kibble and even
pass out from lack of air. Signs are excessive panting, unable
to calm down quickly when excited, and possibly vomiting. Loud,
raspy breathing when overheated is another symptom.
A vet can check the palate by looking down the dogs
throat, many times while the dog is awake if he/she is calm and
will allow it. Otherwise, a mild sedative can be given so the
vet can do a thorough check.
Surgery can be done to shorten the palate but is
not suggested until the dog is about a year old as the palate
may still grow when they are pups, and another procedure may be
required at a later date. Sometimes the dog may need to have laryngeal
saccules or tonsils removed also, and the vet will do this during
the palate clip if required.
Laser surgery is now the most common way to shorten
the palate. It cauterizes as it cuts, which cuts down the bleeding
and swelling, and lessens recovery time. During post-op recovery,
only soft food should be given to allow the throat time to heal.
Hard kibble can be irritating. Rice/ground beef or chicken, soft
dog food, eggs, oatmeal and even baby food are some of the meals
that can be fed. Kibble can also be softened with hot water or
Healing time varies by dog but normal time is between