Cleft palate is a defect found in the mouth of the calf. It occurs when the hard and soft palate of the mouth don’t completely close. Calves with cleft palate will have difficulty drinking milk and much of what they take in will come out through their nose because they don’t have a way to close off their nasal canal to their mouth. This problem can cause pneumonia because the calves may suck some of the milk down into their lungs.
Other times, the hole in the palate may be so small that it will be unnoticed until the animal starts on meal.