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Does A Dog With Down Syndrome Need Special Treatment?

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Does Your Dog Have Down Syndrome

Last updated on September 10th, 2022 at 09:51 am

Dogs With Down Syndrome: There are plenty of similarities between people and their pets when it comes to health concerns. Both people and their pets can suffer from anxiety, seizures, depression, and even cancer.

There is still some debate among scientists and doctors whether or not they know exactly why Down’s disease occurs in certain breeds of domestic animals. However, there is evidence to suggest that it has something to do with genetics.

dogs with down syndrome

Let’s start by taking a quick glance at Down syndrome in animals. Every animal on the entire globe has variations in its chromosome structure. Some of these variations include Down syndrome. For example, Down syndrome has been observed in chimpanzees, our closest relatives.

Apes are a clade of Old World simians native to Africa & Southeast Asia

Apes such as chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans can develop a similar condition to Down syndrome called trisomy 22 when they have an additional third copy of chromosome 22. The first confirmed case of a chimpanzee with trisomy 22 was documented in 1969. DailyMail.UK.

Can dogs develop Down syndrome?

A few vets say Down syndrome exists in dogs. But if so, it must be different than Down syndrome in humans. Dogs have a different number of chromosomes than people do (78 as opposed to 46) and their 21st pair doesn’t contain the same information as the 21st pair in a human, so trisomy 21 in dogs would not produce Down syndrome.

dogs with down syndrome

According to Rober “Down syndrome in humans is easy to recognize and diagnose. But what about dogs? Is there Down syndrome in dogs? And the answer is not exactly.

There are some distinct genetic differences between humans and dogs, in particular, humans have 23 sets of chromosomes while dogs have 39. Because Down syndrome is categorized by having 47 chromosomes, it can’t be diagnosed in dogs who, by default, have 78 chromosomes.”

Is just not often seen and is extremely rare in dogs with genetic mutations, and dogs can lead to early death this may even happen before puppies are born.

Symptoms of Down syndrome-like conditions in dogs

Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic disorders among children. In fact, about one out of every 700 babies born each year are affected by some form of Down syndrome. Symptoms include physical abnormalities, learning disabilities, mental retardation, heart defects, hearing loss, vision loss, seizures, gastrointestinal problems, immune system deficiencies, breathing difficulties, and premature aging.

Dogs can develop similar symptoms, including abnormal facial features and an abnormally broad head, growth delays, eye problems, skin problems, short limbs, mental and/or developmental delays, poor muscle tone, and even death.

While there’s no “official’ Down syndrome diagnosis for dogs – like there is for people – veterinarians often use the term “mendelian inheritance disorder” to describe canine versions of human genetic disorders.

Signs and Symptoms

Consider asking a Vet if your dog has symptoms like:

  • Hearing Problems
    • Down Syndrome dogs are often the slowest to follow or react to cues when they’re with other dogs. This can be cognitive or due to bad hearing.
  • Skin Problems / abnormal skin patches 
    • Skin problems are quite common with Down Syndrome dogs. This is due to poor liver function or a weakened immune system. They might shed heavily or have missing fur patches. And they might be sensitive to minor household irritants and scents. This leads to allergies and other health issues.
  • Poor eyesight / vision loss 
    • Dogs with Down Syndrome have overall poor development. That often leads to weak eyesight. They may develop cataracts. Cloudiness may mean cataracts in one or both eyes.
  • Thyroid problems 
    • A malfunctioning thyroid can cause trouble with metabolism and temperature. Often dogs with thyroid problems have a lower temperature than healthy dogs.
  • Congenital heart disease 
  • Facial features / flat nose
  • Hair loss
  • Dry noses

Taking Care of a Dog With Down Syndrome

The life of a dog with Down syndrome can be very difficult. You cannot just give up on him since he needs constant attention. He needs special food and medicine, and regular checkups. This is why many people choose to adopt a dog with the condition. However, there are still some things you need to consider before adopting one.

You have to understand that caring for a dog with Down syndrome involves lots of money. When you buy his medication, you need to know how much it costs. Sometimes, the cost of treatment exceeds what you pay monthly for rent. If you do not want to spend too much money, you might want to find another option.

Some animals with Down syndrome have allergies to certain drugs. Therefore, you must make sure that the drug you use does not cause side effects on your pet. Also, you should avoid giving him anything that could trigger seizures.

If you decide to go ahead with adoption, you should prepare yourself for the fact that your dog will require frequent veterinary treatments. In addition, you will need to pay extra for tests and exams. These expenses add up quickly.

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