Down Syndrome in our pets!
Is this really possibly, research shows that it could very well be and I will share with you that many have speculated that apes, tigers, dogs, and other animals can have clusters of genetic defects that at least look like Downs Syndrome, and some veterinarians also agree.
I think most of us are familiar with Down syndrome and its manifestations in humans. I have been asked that question, so I decided to research the possibilities. The answer.... it’s unclear, dogs. cats and other species, do have genetic defects,but they have not been connected to the same piece of repeated genetic material that causes Down syndrome in humans. But some dogs, cats, and other species, have the broad faces, slow development, and physical frailty, that we can associate with Down-syndrome. Research on the genes of all species is not nearly as advanced, as research in humans. Very few dogs and cats have had their chromosomes or genes analyzed, do to the expense.
Dogs have a different number of chromosomes (78 as opposed to 46 in humans 38 in cats) and their 21st pair doesn’t contain the same information as the 21st pair in a human, so trisomy which refers to having 3 copies of a chromosome in one cell, rather than 2, so trisomy 21 in other species, e.g. dogs, cats would not produce Down syndrome. Nevertheless,much of the information in humans does appear in the 21st pair, and does appear elsewhere in the chromosomes of other species, as well as dogs and cats.
Your veterinarian would probably be the only one who can identify whether your dog has Down syndrome. Animal genetics aren't easily tested, they might be hard-pressed to provide a diagnosis. Always consider asking them about Down syndrome, if your pet has symptoms at a very young age like:
- congenital heart disease;
- difficulty in hearing (he doesn’t react as fast as others in his “pack");
- poor eyesight, perhaps with cataracts;
- thyroid problems, as shown by impaired metabolism and unstable body temperature;
- odd behavior, such as wailing (from malformed internal organs) or unusual reserve;
- or unusual physical features. Suspected traits include a nose that’s always warm and dry, unusual skin patches, frequent hair loss, deformed legs or hips, and odd facial features including a broad nose and protuding tongue.
Though you may not receive a definitive answer from your vet, you and the vet may nevertheless decide you have a “special” pet, one that needs special attention and care, because of its genes, its embryonic development, or other reasons out of your control.
Unfortunately, there are no cures either for humans or any animal species which show signs of having genetic defects.
Here are some tips on foods, exercise, and caring for your pet...
- Pet foods rich in protein will help strengthen and repair wasted muscle. as some dogs may experience allergies to processed foods.
- Lots of exercise— like daily brisk walking, training for dog tricks, and even sports like Frisbee—will hel strengthen their heart and bones.
- As maintenance, regular checkups and maybe vitamins or medications to keep your pet's system functioning well. Proper dosages and time of medication should be strictly observed, as the body may react differently than that of a normal dog or cat.
Remember if your pet shows any adverse signs while on medication, always consult with your veterinarian. Just like in humans,consult with him or her regarding exercise, especially if congenital heart defects are present. Also noted. that as in humans with Down Syndrome vitamin therapy was essential and they responded very well.
Caring for your dog or cat affected with genetic defects can be more of a gift than a burden.
Having a normal life can be possible if the dog or cat gets proper medication, nutrition, vitamins, herbs, love and guidance. Taking care of your pet with a genetic defect is no easy task, and requires emotion, caring and loving. Owning a special pet will enable any person to realize so much, including their capacity for love, attention, and concern. Who would have known that despite the circumstances, one can give their pet the life that they deserve.....
A Hui Ho....
No life is more important than another,
and nothing we do is without purpose.
We can only measure our goodness on what we embrace and what we create.
Believe, we are all part of the Angelic Dance of Life, that someday we will understand.
Dream your dreams they are your passions
Never loose your childhood enthusiasm it is what drives you,
Be an Angel of Kindness and wondrous gifts will abound you
And one day when we alone are capable,
we will rise and forever embraced by the Kindness we share