Detecting Down Syndrome in Dogs and Caring for Them; The Ultimate Guide
Dogs can develop chromosomal conditions that are quite similar to Down syndrome. Here we have prepared a detailed guide to help you detect Down syndrome in dogs and care for them. So let's get started right away!
If you are a dog parent, you must be aware of the fact that there is a striking resemblance between the canine and the human species. Dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason; the unique compatibility of humans and dogs makes the relationship between them so perfect. These similarities, however, sometimes come with a negative aspect. Certain medical conditions, for instance, can affect both hounds and people.
The conditions can vary from physical ailments like arthritis and heart disease to mental problems such as depression and anxiety. Similarly, dogs can also develop chromosomal conditions that are quite similar to Down syndrome. Here we have prepared a detailed guide to help you detect Down syndrome in dogs and care for them. So let’s get started right away!
Understanding Down Syndrome
In order to understand Down syndrome in dogs, first, you need to know what it actually is. There is a nucleus located in every cell of the human body that stores genetic material in the form of genes. These genes carry codes and are grouped along chromosomes that are rod-like structures. Genes are responsible for inherited traits. Generally, each nucleus of every cell in our body contains twenty-three chromosome pairs, half of which children inherit from their parents. When an individual has a partial or full extra copy of chromosome 21, Down syndrome occurs.
Can a Dog Get Down Syndrome?
“While humans and dogs have many similar characteristics, both don’t share a similar chromosomal structure. For instance, a dog has 39 pairs of chromosomes, whereas human beings have 23. Therefore, there is no proven answer to this question yet. When there is a duplicate occurrence of chromosome 21 in dogs and humans, the effects vary greatly. Dogs may suffer from various chromosomal abnormalities due to the issue but the malfunction may not be termed as Down syndrome.”
Detecting Down Syndrome In Dogs
Following are some signs and symptoms in dogs that should not be ignored:
- Mental dullness
- Abnormal gait
- Hearing problems
- Skin issues
- Poor muscle tone
- Mental issues
- Eye problems
- Growth delays
- Short limbs
- Developmental delays
- Weirdly shaped forehead
- Abnormal facial features
- Unusual behavior
- Delayed tooth eruption
When your little pooch experiences the aforementioned symptoms, it might be best to consult a vet to rule out a form of canine Down syndrome or other illnesses such as congenital hypothyroidism that causes symptoms like slow growth rate, large tongue, and broad head. When your dog experiences any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is easy to jump to conclusions and diagnose them with Down syndrome. However, it may be best to leave the diagnosis to a professional!
Caring for Your Dog with Down Syndrome
While genetic defects in dogs cannot be treated, you, as a dog parent can still give your pup as normal a life as possible. Whether your little friend has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or not, as its owner, it is your responsibility to provide it with special care and give it everything it needs to enjoy life. Here are some things you can provide your dog with to ensure a safe and happy lifestyle!
Every dog wants a bed to call their own. A private bed gives them a sense of security and dogs consider it as their own little comfort zone. Get a pet bed that helps distribute your pooch’s weight evenly and that can be used by your dog to hide, burrow, or snuggle inside. Giving them a little spot that they can call their own can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms in dogs.
Professional Veterinarian Care
Finding a professional and reliable veterinarian that not only has the required experienced with dogs with chromosomal conditions but also understands their special needs is essential. Make sure that you remain fully prepared to schedule frequent appointments and follow up with the doctor for regular check-ups and tests in order to ensure the optimal health of your pet baby.
A Healthy Diet
In order to maintain good health, it is important to provide your dog with all the necessary nutrients. You can seek expert opinion from a veterinarian or a dog nutritionist to come up with healthy diet patterns.
While every dog requires the incorporation of exercise in their daily routine to remain healthy, some need it more than others. Read the body language of your dog to determine its exercise needs. If you see them getting exhausted, immediately stop. Never push your pet over its physical limits.
Since dogs are intelligent living things, they need mental stimulation. This can be achieved by letting your dog play with various toys such as ropes, squeaky, plush, and interactive ones. This will not only keep your dogs busy and mentally stimulated but it will also promote its mental wellness.
A Safe Environment
If your dog has developmental issues, it is important that you create a safe environment at home for its well-being. Adjust your furniture and decor according to the condition of your dog. For instance, if your dog has eye problems, make sure to provide them with the necessary assistance.
We hope that with all the aforementioned information on detecting Down syndrome in dogs and caring for them, you found something worth your while. Remember, often people tend to confuse other dog diseases such as portosystemic shunt, growth hormone deficiency, congenital hydrocephalus, pituitary dwarfism, and more with Down syndrome. If you think that your dog is exhibiting symptoms of the disease, make sure to talk to a trusted veterinarian who can recommend the right diagnostic plan and help your dog to the fullest!
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