Congenital defects of the soft palate in 15 adult horses

S. Z. Barakzai*, B. S. L. Fraser, P. M. Dixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: Horses, usually foals, with a congenital defect of the soft palate have been reported infrequently, and most reports describe a surgical procedure to repair the defect. Results of conservative management have not been previously reported. OBJECTIVES: To describe 15 horses affected with soft palate defects which were presented for examination as adults. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective case series. METHODS: Clinical records from horses identified as having been diagnosed with a soft palate defect when older than one year of age were reviewed retrospectively. Follow up was obtained wherever possible. RESULTS: Many were able to perform at least low intensity ridden activities and 2 Thoroughbreds raced successfully without surgical treatment. Surgical correction was attempted in 3 horses but was only partially successful in 2. The other horses were not treated surgically and no deterioration in severity of clinical signs was reported in the long term. The prevalence of survival in this case series was 100%. CONCLUSIONS AND POTENTIAL RELEVANCE: This case series shows that some foals may survive to adulthood with substantial congenital defects of the soft palate without displaying severe clinical signs. Given the published high incidence of morbidity and mortality associated with surgical treatment, this case series suggests that a reasonable alternative is to manage such cases conservatively, provided that they are not suffering from severe pneumonia or ill-thrift and that their welfare is not compromised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-188
Number of pages4
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • horse
  • nasal discharge
  • respiratory
  • cleft palate


Dive into the research topics of 'Congenital defects of the soft palate in 15 adult horses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this