You may have heard of Down’s syndrome. It affects humans. But, what about dogs with Down’s syndrome? The situation is unclear in the lack of a better word. There is no one simple answer we can share with you within seconds. The matter is complicated at the very least. This means we will have to explain it in detail and cover all the basics.
People with Down’s Syndrome Basics
Yes, Down’s syndrome does affect humans. These people usually have short necks, flat faces, a nose, small chins, and specific ears. They also have a lower IQ of 50. This is equivalent to a child of 8-9 years.
Most of them will live between 50 and 60 years with modern care. In addition, individuals with this syndrome have other health issues as well. They usually have problems with the heart, digestive tract, and infertility among other issues. What about dogs with Down’s syndrome? The answer is a bit complicated.
Down’s Syndrome In Dogs
The simple answer is yes and no. Some people claim that there is Down’s syndrome present in dogs while others claim this is impossible. The situation is the same if we look at what vets have to say. Some claim that the syndrome is present in dogs, tigers, lions, and many other animals. But some vets claim this is impossible.
The main thing to know is that dogs have 78 chromosomes while people have 46. Chromosome 21 which is responsible for Down’s syndrome doesn’t have the same information in dogs as it has in humans. Hence, this means that Down’s syndrome in dogs is almost impossible.
On the other hand, we have a similar type of disorder in dogs. We can call it Down’s syndrome. It simply has too many similarities to the syndrome that happens in humans hence the same name. Puppies that have the syndrome usually don’t survive birth. Those that do die within a few days. They are unable to move, feed or function.
Down’s syndrome in dogs causes poor development of the organs and the systems. They have abnormalities that are visible and their development, mental and physical, is very slow.
It is also common that a mother will kill or completely neglect a puppy with Down’s syndrome. Dogs still have the same instincts they had in the wild. As such, she must take care of healthy puppies. There are many of them by the way. Mother doesn’t have the time nor can afford the time and effort a puppy with Down’s syndrome would need. This is another reason why almost all puppies with Down’s syndrome will not survive.
There are still a few puppies that survive the early stage. They typically live around 5 years. If a dog is lucky and healthy he can live up to 15 years with Down’s syndrome.
Symptoms of Down’s Syndrome In Dogs
There are a lot of symptoms present in this scenario. If your pet has some of these or all of them, he can have Down’s syndrome. Keep in mind that this is rare and a vet would probably tell you already. But it is a wise idea to know about the symptoms and signs. Symptoms of Down’s syndrome in dogs include:
This means that your pet will usually be the last dog to react when you issue a command or he may react only when he sees other dogs doing it.
Issues with the heart
These dogs have a circulatory system that has problems and is abnormal. The main issue here is malformations.
Cataracts or poor eyesight
Dogs with Down’s syndrome have poor eyesight and may suffer from cataracts. It is more common that a dog has a cataract in one eye. Keep in mind that both eyes may have cataracts. Check his eyes. If you see clouding, take him to a vet.
Strange physical features
This is one of the biggest similarities we can see between humans and dogs with Down’s syndrome. Dogs may also have short necks, small heads, and a lot more abnormalities. Most if not all of these dogs have dry and warm noses. Some will even have deformed or incomplete legs.
Issues with the thyroid
Due to problems with the thyroid these dogs have a lower temperature and problems with their metabolism. This all happens because the thyroid gland doesn’t work properly. It is formed in an unusual way and it is not fully operational.
Try to remember that dogs with Down’s syndrome can suffer from random pain. It can affect any part of the body at any given moment. A dog will react to the pain. This can be a hard thing to determine.
Your dog will be in pain but there will be no injuries or any damages. The pain occurs due to the fact that Down’s syndrome affects the whole body while it is being formed.
Dogs with Down’s syndrome will have problems with the skin. They may have patches on the coat, areas without the hair, or the skin can be extremely sensitive. These dogs will shed more than ordinary dogs.
Some dogs with Down’s syndrome will have bloody discharge from the rectum. This is rarer but can happen. Usually, this happens due to other health problems that are linked to Down’s syndrome.
The Final Word
Yes, dogs with Down’s syndrome do exist. They are rare and there are not a lot of pets out there. They don’t live long and they typically have a lot of health issues. If you have a special dog, make sure he is comfortable, he is protected and he is happy. He can’t do all the things as an ordinary dog can but he can still play with you and have a great time.