It may suddenly occur to you that your dog has Down syndrome. Or perhaps you want to know if this condition, prevalent in humans, occurs in dogs too. Can dogs have Down syndrome? Down syndrome is a familiar chromosomal condition affecting humans. It is characterized by cognitive delays and physical deficiencies while running a higher susceptibility to certain health concerns. 

If you notice that your dog is showing traits that are indicative of Down syndrome, the thought may occur that can dogs have Autism or Down syndrome?

What Is Down Syndrome?

To understand what Down syndrome is, let us look at the description The National Down Syndrome Society has put forth. They say, “In every cell in the human body, there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

What Is Down Syndrome

Signs Of Down Syndrome

Signs Of Down Syndrome

The presence of an extra genetic material can have several effects. People with Down syndrome will have some degree of intellectual disability, but it can vary from person to person, ranging from mild to moderate. 

The US Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)has said that there could be some common physical features of Down syndrome, such as a line across the palm of the hand called a palmar crease and poor muscle tone

The Global Down Syndrome Society has pointed out that some of these features may be recurrent but isn’t universal.  They say, “although children and adults with Down syndrome may share some common features, they look more like their immediate family members than like each other.

Can Dogs Have Down Syndrome?

There are quite a few similarities between man and dog, but there are certain key differences. An instance would be that people have 23 sets of chromosomes, whereas dogs have 39.

Can Dogs Have Down Syndrome

A full or partial copy of chromosome 21 causes Down syndrome. But a duplication of chromosome 21 partly or fully could affect the species in two different ways. 

To be fair, Down syndrome doe snot exist in dogs. The condition itself has not been described in dogs. There could be three reasons why this has happened:

  • The condition does not exist in dogs 
  • Chromosomal abnormalities typically lead to an early demise in dogs
  • The genetic testing required has not been done    

Conditions Similar To Down Syndrome

Now that you know dogs don’t have Down syndrome, you may ask, can dogs have Down syndrome symptoms? There are many congenital and developmental conditions that get diagnosed in dogs that are similar to Down syndrome.

Conditions Similar To Down Syndrome

One example would be congenital hypothyroidism. Low or no thyroid hormones at birth or early in life could result in the following:

  • Cognitive delay
  • Short limbs
  • Delayed opening of the eyes and ears
  • Slow growth that results in short stature
  • Poor muscle tone 
  • Large, protruding tongue

Other diagnoses that can be mistaken for Down syndrome are: 

  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Congenital hydrocephalus
  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Pituitary dwarfism

If you are noticing such symptoms in your dogs, consult your veterinarian. They will recommend a suitable plan for diagnosis to check if your dog is facing any impairment issues and recommend a treatment schedule. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Dogs cannot have Down syndrome, technically speaking. Their number of chromosomes differs from that of humans. But other conditions can mimic the symptoms of Down Syndrome.

How Long Can Dogs With Down Syndrome Life?

Dogs do not get Down syndrome but can have other conditions that mimic the signs. Their life expectancy, therefore, differs based on their diagnosis. 

How Can You Take Care Of A Down Syndrome Dog?

Dogs do not have Down syndrome, but if your dog shows signs of abnormality, get in touch with your veterinarian. A medical provider can help you accurately deal with the issue at hand. 

In Conclusion

Down syndrome has been very well researched and studied for human purposes. But if you ask, can dogs have Down syndrome? it is understood with limited resources in the case of pups. Chromosomal abnormalities are irreversible and, therefore, a serious issue. As unlikely as it is for dogs to have Down syndrome the way humans do, they could definitely suffer from conditions that have similar symptoms. 

Check with your veterinarian for a better understanding of an early diagnosis if you suspect your dog has the above-mentioned symptoms. 

If you have questions or you have thoughts to share, leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you. 

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