Development of palate starts by the formation of two palates (two palatine processes). the primary palate and secondary palate.
The primary palate, which becomes incisive bone, is formed by medial nasal processes. The secondary palate is formed by bilateral medial extensions of maxillary processes.
The extensions (palatine processes) meet at the midline, merging dorsally with nasal septum and rostrally with primary palate. The secondary palate (hard palate) separates nasal and oral cavities.
Caudal extension of the secondary palate into the pharynx, forms a soft palate which divides the rostral pharynx into dorsal (nasopharynx) and ventral (oropharynx) chambers.
• Cleft palate results from failure of the palate to close along the midline, leaving a gap or cleft. The secondary palate is affected more commonly than the primary palate. The condition may be inherited or be the result of exposure to a teratogen (an agent that causes birth defects). Cleft palate is often fatal in animals due to inability to suckle or because of aspiration of milk into the lungs (aspiration pneumonia).
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