There are many medical conditions that can affect dogs as well as humans. Scientists believe that dogs and humans share nearly 98 percent of the genes. Hence, even a dog is capable of getting many disorders that are seen among humans. Down syndrome is commonly heard in human babies, but you will be surprised to know that it exists among canines.
Down syndrome is also a genetic disorder among canines. It is caused by a defective chromosome, which is also found in dogs. It is also passed down genetically. You may be surprised to learn that the Down syndrome chromosome may be present in every mammal. The disorder is caused when an extra chromosome is present in the 21st chromosome. This causes delayed mental growth and also slow physical development.
Among dogs though this condition is rare, but when a dog has it, the effects of the syndrome are the same as observed among humans. Also, it is important to note that when a puppy is born with this disorder, it may not survive too long. (See Reference 1)
In dogs, there is a slow brain development. However, when a puppy is born with this syndrome, it may not be possible to identify it. Generally, the affected puppies do not look different from their siblings. But, a puppy suffering from this genetic disorder will be extremely hyperactive and energetic. However, since all puppies are naughty and active, a person may not be able to distinguish a Down syndrome puppy from a normal healthy puppy. However, as the puppy matures, it will display all symptoms of the syndrome that are present in humans, like slowing down, losing muscle strength and having problems with their nerves. Slowly, the dog may become incapacitated. (See Reference 1)Down syndrome is a slowly progressing disease, and there is nothing a vet can do to treat it. The dogs should be kept on a natural food diet as preserved foods only make the symptoms of the disease worse. If the average lifespan of a dog is 15 years, then a dog with Down syndrome may live for around 5 years or may be a couple of years more. The only thing that a dog owner can do to improve the quality of life of a Down syndrome dog is to give it a lot of love and attention. The dog may at times be uncontrollable just like human children and may act unreasonable. At times like these, the dog needs to be handled firmly but also shown that it is loved. A dog with this condition cannot be trained or taught any tricks. (See Reference 1)
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