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What is Cheiloplasty?

Cheiloplasty in cats is a surgical procedure used to correct tissue abnormalities of the lips. The primary condition treated with a cheiloplasty surgery in cats is cleft palate. A cleft palate is a type of birth defect characterized by improper formation of a lip or the mouth inside the mother’s womb. A cleft palate can affect the way the feline eats, drinks and breathes, which is the main reason cat owners seek out treatment. A cheiloplasty is performed by a licensed veterinary surgeon. In a feline cheiloplasty procedure, the veterinarian will separate the lower lip from the chin, or maxilla (upper jaw), to allow the lip to heal in the correct position. 

Cheiloplasty Procedure in Cats

Cheiloplasty is carried out under general anesthesia. The veterinarian will perform pre-operative blood work to ensure the cat is in good health to have anesthetic administered and for the surgery itself. The cat will then be given a pre-surgical sedative, followed by a tracheal tube to allow the flow of oxygen and anesthetic gas. Once the feline is sedated, he or she will have the surgical area shaved and cleansed with a sterile antiseptic. The veterinarian will then proceed to perform the surgery. 

Cheiloplasty in cats involves separating the lower lip from the chin, or maxilla (upper jaw), to allow the lip to heal in the correct position. The feline will be laid on his/her back to allow access to the mouth. The lip will be pulled out or down, exposing the teeth. An incision will be made along the mucogingival junction, following the curvature of the teeth. A periosteal elevator is then used to strip subcutaneous tissue from the jaw to allow the lip more available tissue to heal correctly and cover the teeth completely. Sutures may be placed, depending on the preference of the veterinarian. The cat will then be taken off of gas anesthetic and oxygen support to recover in a designated area. 

Efficacy of Cheiloplasty in Cats

Cheiloplasty is an effective procedure for surgically correcting abnormalities of the lips of felines. If the surgery was successful and without complications, the cat will have a high probability of being cured completely. 

Cheiloplasty Recovery in Cats

Following a cheiloplasty surgery, your cat will require a great deal of at-home care. Pain and antibacterial medications will need to be administered every day to ensure a positive recovery. Your veterinarian will limit the cat’s physical activities and recommend a change in diet for a selective period of time. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled on the day your cat is released from the clinic.

Cost of Cheiloplasty in Cats

A feline cheiloplasty surgery can cost anywhere from $200 to $3,000 to have performed. The cost of the surgery depends on the severity of the cat’s condition and aftercare.

Cat Cheiloplasty Considerations

Cheiloplasty does require your feline to be sedated, which is often a concern for pet owners, and the appearance of the cat’s mouth may be altered. 

Cheiloplasty Prevention in Cats

Cheiloplasty in cats cannot be prevented. Abnormalities of the lips are often hereditary or congenital conditions that the feline is born with. To prevent the need for a cheiloplasty in your cat, always research the feline breed you are selecting and talk to your breeder about defects before making a purchase.