Objective-To describe repair of chronic palatine defects in cats, with free cartilage graft harvested from either the pinna (scapha) or vertical ear canal (annular cartilage). Study Design-Retrospective study. Animals-Cats (n = 5) with chronic oronasal fistula. Methods-Cartilage was harvested from either the scapha or annular cartilage and epithelium removed. After preparation of the edges of the palatal defect by separation of the oral and palatal mucosa circumferentially, the graft was inserted between the epithelial layers and secured without tension. The graft acted as a scaffold for migration of granulation tissue and epithelialization. Results-Oronasal fistulae were successfully repaired in 5 cats (3 pinna grafts; 2 annular cartilage grafts); 1 cat required a second graft after the first graft was dislodged. Conclusions-Auricular cartilage provides a reliable framework for repair of oronasal fistulae in cats. Clinical Relevance-Chronic oronasal fistulae refractory to conventional repair can be treated by use of auricular free graft (pinna or annular cartilage) without disfigurement. Use of annular cartilage to support palatal repairs offers surgeons an additional option when other methods have failed. We recommend using conchal cartilage as the initial treatment approach for repair of small oronasal fistulae in cats.
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