World Down Syndrome Day: 5 down syndrome like condition in dogs - Hindustan Times
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World Down Syndrome Day: 5 down syndrome like condition in dogs

Mar 20, 2023 05:44 PM IST

From congenital heart defects to hypothyroidism, check out five down syndrome like condition in dogs.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects humans and is characterized by physical and intellectual disabilities. While down syndrome is relatively rare in dogs, there are a few conditions that resemble the disorder in canines. Down syndrome occurs when there's an extra copy of chromosome 21. However, dogs do not have the same number of chromosomes as humans, and therefore, they cannot develop down syndrome. Nonetheless, dogs can have genetic disorders that share some similarities with down syndrome, such as cognitive impairment, developmental delays, and physical abnormalities. These conditions are often referred to as "canine cognitive dysfunction" or "doggie dementia." (Also read: Kidney failure in dogs: Surprising causes, symptoms and all you want to know )

While down syndrome is relatively rare in dogs, there are a few conditions that resemble the disorder in canines.(Pexels)
While down syndrome is relatively rare in dogs, there are a few conditions that resemble the disorder in canines.(Pexels)

Down syndrome like conditions in dogs:

Dr. Deepak Saraswat, Head Veterinarian, Zigly, shared with HT Lifestyle, five such conditions in dogs.

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1. Trisomy 21- Trisomy 21 is the most well-known form of Down syndrome in humans and is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. Dogs can also be born with an extra copy of chromosome 21, which can result in physical and intellectual disabilities similar to those seen in humans with Down syndrome. Symptoms of trisomy 21 in dogs may include facial abnormalities, smaller-than-average size, and cognitive impairments.

2. Congenital heart defects - Many individuals with Down syndrome are born with heart defects. Similarly, certain dog breeds, such as Bulldogs and Boxers, are prone to congenital heart defects. These defects can range in severity from mild to life-threatening and may require surgery to correct. Dogs with heart defects may experience fatigue, difficulty breathing, and reduced activity levels.

3. Brachycephalic airway ayndrome - Brachycephalic airway syndrome is a condition that affects dogs with short, flat noses, such as Pugs and Boston Terriers. Dogs with this condition may experience breathing difficulties, exercise intolerance, and overheating due to their narrow airways. This condition can be managed through lifestyle changes, such as avoiding hot weather and strenuous exercise, and surgical interventions to open up the airways.

4. Hypothyroidism - It is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. This condition can cause a wide range of symptoms in dogs, including lethargy, weight gain, hair loss, and behavioural changes. While not directly related to Down syndrome, hypothyroidism can affect cognitive function and may result in symptoms that are similar to those seen in individuals with the disorder.

5. Cerebellar hypoplasia - Cerebellar hypoplasia is a neurological condition that affects dogs and can cause a wide range of symptoms, including clumsiness, difficulty in walking, and tremors. While not directly related to Down syndrome, the symptoms of cerebellar hypoplasia may resemble those seen in individuals with the disorder. This condition can be caused by a number of factors, including genetic mutations, viral infections, and malnutrition during pregnancy.

"In conclusion, while Down syndrome is relatively rare in dogs, there are a number of conditions that can cause symptoms that resemble the disorder. These conditions may be caused by genetic mutations, developmental abnormalities, or environmental factors. If you suspect that your dog may be exhibiting symptoms of any of these conditions, it is important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. With proper management, many dogs with these conditions can live happy and fulfilling lives," concludes Dr. Saraswat.

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