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Humans and dogs share many similarities – they’re both social and constantly crave attention and affection. They even share some diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes among others. But, what about Down syndrome? Can dogs really have this genetic disorder that’s very common in humans and how to know if your dog has it?

First, it’s important to understand what exactly is Down syndrome and how it affects humans. Down syndrome is commonly described as a genetic disorder that is caused when abnormal cell division ends with an extra partial or full copy of chromosome 21. The extra genetic material causes huge developmental delays and distinct physical features in humans.

Down syndrome, which is also known as Trisomy 21, is generally characterized by a round, flattened face, upturned eyes, short neck, poor muscle tone, and a short and stocky build. People with this congenital condition may also struggle with heart defects, hearing loss, and eye disease.

They may have some cognitive and behavioral problems such as poor judgment, impulsive behavior, short attention span, delayed speech development, and slow learning.

Can Dogs Have Down Syndrome?

So, Down syndrome is characterized by having 47 chromosomes (23 sets plus an additional partial or full copy of Chromosome 21), which means that dogs can’t have it because they naturally have 78 chromosomes (or 39 sets).

Therefore, Down syndrome simply can’t be diagnosed in dogs. However, that doesn’t mean that our four-legged friends can’t have various genetic abnormalities that may cause symptoms and physical characteristics that resemble Trisomy 21 in humans.

In fact, there have been many cases where dog owners claimed that their dogs look or behave differently from other dogs. But, how to know if your dog has a Down-syndrome condition?

Schedule an appointment with your vet immediately if your furry friend experiences any of the following symptoms:

– growth delays

– abnormal facial features

– hearing problems

– eye problems

– short limbs

– mental delays

-poor muscle tone

-small head

-short neck

Dogs can’t suffer from Down syndrome, but according to The Fairy Dale the symptoms that resemble this genetic disorder could signify that your dog has other underlying health conditions such as pituitary dwarfism, growth hormone deficiency, thyroid issues, congenital hydrocephalus, or congenital heart issues.

Canines may develop symptoms that are similar to Down syndrome, but most of the genetic mutations in dogs often lead to early death, which usually happens even before a puppy is born.

So, if your dog is experiencing some of these symptoms like growth delays and cognitive problems, the best thing you can do is to get them to your vet who will give you a correct diagnosis.

How To Care For A Dog With Down Syndrome – Like Symptoms?

If the vet diagnoses your dog with some genetic disorder, there are some things you can do in order to help your canine friend and keep them safe, happy, and healthy for a long time.

– First, make sure to schedule regular visits with your vet – special needs dogs require more check-ups and tests.

– Feed your dog a proper diet. This is extremely important because your dog needs a well-balanced diet that will give its body all the nutrients they need to function properly.

-If your dog has any intellectual or developmental delays it’s crucial to make their environment safe. Make sure the space is safe and your dog is protected and can easily move around without getting hurt. If you have stairs, put gates near the stairs to prevent your dog from falling.

– A special needs dog often has growth delays and development issues, and this can make exercise difficult. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to avoid exercise completely. Consult your vet who can give you some suitable exercise for your dog.

The best low-impact exercise you can do with your dog is walking – a daily short walk will strengthen your dog’s muscles, bones, and heart. Tug of war is also a good way to strengthen your dog’s muscles.

– Be patient if your dog fails to learn new commands. Do not get angry and always try to keep the training sessions short.

Embrace your dog as it is, be patient with them and realize that your special needs dog can also live a long and happy life, as long as you give them the care they need.