Down Syndrome in Dog : Can Dogs Get Down Syndrome?

By Alberto Roy

Updated on:

Humans and hounds can both develop the same health problems, including mental illness like anxiety and depression. Dogs can inherit similar chromosomal conditions to Down Syndrome, just like humans. Human beings & dogs can both develop health problems, including mental illness like down syndrome in dog, dog anxiety and pet depression.

Continue reading to learn more about Down Syndrome and whether Down Syndrome can be caused by humans. Also, find out how chromosomal conditions in dogs are diagnosed and treated.

Dogs with Down Syndrome

Humans and dogs share many commonalities. We even share some diseases that can affect our dogs. There are however differences at the cellular level which will have a different impact on genetic disorders in dogs and humans.

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Down syndrome is a common genetic disorder that dog owners frequently talk about. You can learn more about Down syndrome and how it could affect your dog by following our guide.

What is Down syndrome?

Understanding Down syndrome and its effects on humans is key to understanding it in dogs. According to Healthline, it is defined as

“Down syndrome” (sometimes known as Down’s syndrome) refers to a condition where a child is born with an extra copy their 21st chromosome. It is also known by its alternative name, trisomy 21. This can lead to developmental delays and disabilities in the physical and mentally.

The abnormal cell division can cause chromosome copies to be full or partial, which will have an impact on the lives of those who are affected. Our society is well-developed. People with Down syndrome can live a happy and fulfilling life thanks to various government programs and medical advancements.

Before we discuss Down syndrome in dogs we must first understand how it affects human babies’ development. It is simple to identify the symptoms of Down syndrome in humans.

  • Flattened nose bridge and face, especially the bridge.
  • A shorter neck
  • Small ears
  • Almond-shaped eyes that slant upward
  • A tongue that sticks out of the mouth
  • Tiny white spots (iris) on the colored portion of the eyes
    Poor muscle tone
  • Shorter height

However, it is not the end of Down syndrome’s health problems. Down syndrome sufferers are frequently affected by the following:

Dog That Has Down Syndrome

  • Hearing loss
  • Infections of the ear
  • Eye problems
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Heart defects present at birth

Difference in cellular structure between humans and dogs

Humans and dogs are two different species. As such, our cells can be different. Dogs have the same genetic material as humans. It is stored in every cell’s nucleus. There are 23 pairs in our nucleus. There are 39 pairs of chromosomes in dogs.

Dogs with Down Syndrome

We are all familiar with Down syndrome and the symptoms it can cause in humans. Many people wonder if Down syndrome can also affect dogs. It is not clear. Although dogs do have Down syndrome, they are not affected by the same genetic material as humans.

Some dogs, however, have the same broad faces, slow development and physical frailty that we associate with Down syndrome in people.

Is Down Syndrome a common condition in dogs?

This question is not easy to answer. Many speculate that Down syndrome can be found in tigers, apes, and dogs.

A few vets believe that Down syndrome is present in dogs. If it is, then it must be different from Down syndrome in humans.

can dogs have down syndrome

Dogs have 78 chromosomes, whereas people have 46. Their 21st couple doesn’t contain as much information as the 21st in humans. Therefore, trisomy 21 in dogs wouldn’t cause Down syndrome.

However, information that is found in humans on the 21st couple also appears elsewhere on the chromosomes for other species, such as dogs.

The research on dogs’ genes is not as advanced as that on humans. Only a few dogs have had their genes or chromosomes analyzed.

The puppy usually dies before he even gets born. Doctors will usually prevent a puppy from living more than a few days if he is lucky enough to survive. Sometimes, the trauma of birth can be too much for a puppy to bear and eventually causes his death.

Although Down syndrome symptoms usually appear in the first year to two years of age, they can be seen early on in the lives of puppies. The disorder can cause poor development of organs, which may lead to a decrease in survival rates.

He may also die from incapacity to feed himself or move around to take care of himself. Their mother may neglect them, which is another reason Down syndrome puppies die young.

It may even cause the death of Down syndrome puppies. To keep the puppy from being contaminated, the mother attempts to remove him.

Can Dogs Have Down Syndrome 2

Dogs with this disorder generally live for five years, while dogs who are healthy live for between 10 and 15 years.

Is your dog suffering from Down Syndrome?

Your veterinarian is the best person to determine if your dog has Down syndrome. Dog genetics can be difficult to test so he or she may not be able to give a diagnosis. If your dog exhibits symptoms such as:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Hearing difficulties (he reacts slower than others in his “pack”).
  • Cataracts or poor eyesight may lead to impaired vision.
  • Thyroid problems are characterized by an impaired metabolism and an unstable body temperature.
  • Strange behavior such as crying (from malformed internal organs), or an unusual reserve
  • Some people may have unusual physical characteristics, such as a wide nose, protruding tongue, and a nose that is always warm and dry.

Even if the vet doesn’t give you a definitive answer, it is possible that you and your vet will decide that you have a special dog. This could be due to its genetics, embryonic development or any other reason beyond your control.

Signs and Symptoms

These are some of the most common signs and symptom for Down syndrome in dogs. Several of the above symptoms are also detailed below.

These are important to note in order to detect problems early and take appropriate action.

detecting down syndrome in dogs

It is possible to spot it, even though it can be difficult. It is possible to observe the differences. Healthy dogs have moist noses, while sick ones tend to have dry. These are the signs that your dog may have Down syndrome.

Poor eyesight: Dogs with Down syndrome are more likely to have poor vision because of their poor development. They are at high risk for developing cataracts in at most one eye. Examine your dog’s eyes for signs of cloudiness. Cloudiness may be a sign of cataract formation.

Unusual facial or physical features: Dogs suffering from this disorder are more likely to have deformed and dwarf-like facial features. Common abnormalities include a short neck, flat-like head, small head and upwardly slanting, abnormally shaped ears.

Dogs with Down syndrome often have dry and warm noses. These dogs may also have deformed or incomplete legs or abnormal skin patches. They can also suffer from hair loss and shedding.

Hearing Problems: Although this is a difficult symptom to spot, it can be easily detected. Dogs with Down syndrome are often slow to respond to commands and follow them when they are around other dogs.

Congenital heart disease: This is a condition that occurs in dogs who have Down syndrome. It results from an abnormal circulatory system. They were born with malformations.

Random pain: A dog with Down syndrome may have an abnormally developed set of internal organs. This is because his entire body was affected. Sometimes, this may lead to pain.

Discharge: Dogs suffering from Down syndrome might also be affected by other diseases. This could lead to bloody discharges from their rectum. During the later stages of Down syndrome, you may see bloody discharge from their bodies.

can dogs get down syndrome

Skin problems: Many dogs with Down syndrome have skin problems. They may be sensitive to minor irritations, as well as having missing or abnormal patches. They can quickly develop allergies or other health problems.

Thyroid issues: Down syndrome dogs may have problems with their metabolism or temperature. They have a lower body temperature than other dogs.

Behavior issues: Down syndrome dogs often exhibit strange behaviors and traits, like whining, howling or whining. You may also notice an unusual reserve. This disorder can also cause puppies to not progress quickly through all stages of development. They are difficult to train and feed.

Because they don’t know how to control their bladders. Sometimes they will even take to the outdoors and then return inside to pee on the floor. It is important to be patient with them.

You may be asking, “Can dogs get Down Syndrome?” The answer is yes, at the moment. Although some sources claim that the answer is not straightforward, scientific evidence does not support the idea that Down Syndrome exists in dogs.

down syndrome in dog

However, Down Syndrome can be mimicked in certain canines. These conditions include:

Pituitary dwarfism: This autosomal disorder is caused a deficiency in the growth hormone. Pituitary dwarfism causes dogs to be small in stature and can lead to kidney failure.

This condition is most common in German Shepherds, and certain wolf hybrid breeds. Congenital heart disease. This rare condition can have many causes. Genetics and environmental factors could play a part. The defect may cause symptoms that vary.

Hypothyroidism: This rare disease can be passed on from parents to their dogs. The symptoms may resemble those of Down Syndrome, especially in terms of organ function and formation.

It is important to remember that veterinary genetics continues to evolve. Even though veterinarian geneticists have done extensive research on the canine genome and found more than 300 genetic disorders, we still don’t know as much about canine genetics like we do the human genome.

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What is the Down Syndrome like in humans and dogs?

Chromosomal conditions can be caused by dogs just as humans. Some of these signs are similar to Down Syndrome. These include:

A smaller than average head and/or face : Delayed muscle growth and cognitive development

Poor vision and/or hearing: Physical deformities such as short legs or poor eyesight

What is the difference between Down Syndrome in humans and dogs?

Canines are blessed with 38 pairs of chromosomes. This means that chromosome 21 in dogs has different functions and carries different gene. Dogs with chromosomal conditions are thought to be less common. People with Down Syndrome enjoy a high quality life.

Dogs with chromosomal abnormalities are often not able to live their lives as normal. Many dogs with chromosomal abnormalities are often killed before they reach puberty or very soon after.

Many people who survive are affected by pain from malformed organs. Dogs with chromosomal disorders may not be able to eat.

can dogs have down syndrome

How can chromosomal conditions such as Down Syndrome be diagnosed and treated in dogs?

It is difficult to determine if your dog suffers from chromosomal abnormalities because genetic testing can only be done at specialized facilities. Unfortunately, chromosomal abnormalities are congenital and cannot be treated. To determine if your dog is suffering from special needs, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam.

You should notify your vet immediately if you notice any unusual clinical signs. Follow their instructions. Treatment will most often be palliative. This is when the treatment is done to alleviate the dog’s suffering and improve their quality-of-life.

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