Have you ever wondered if cats can be born with Down Syndrome? Let us now understand what these genetic anomalies would be that cause distinct facial appearance, mental deficiency, developmental delays and may be associated with heart or thyroid disease.
In fact, Down Syndrome (SD) is the trisomy of chromosome 21, unique to humans. Therefore, genetic abnormalities and trisomies in other pairs of chromosomes in animals cannot be defined as Down’s Syndrome because the other animals do not have chromosome 21.
Cats only have 19 pairs of chromosomes, so they could not have one more chromosome in pair 21, so technically a cat can not have Down’s Syndrome.
But then what are the characteristics in animals of the genetic alterations that resemble the SD of humans?
Differential cranial shape, distant eyes, tongue hanging, lack of motor coordination, vision and hearing difficulties, thyroid problems and heart failure.
Just like humans who have trisomies in pairs of chromosomes, animals with these characteristics should count on their entire life with a medical follow-up to monitor for possible congenital health problems.
A special care should be taken not to expose the animal to risk conditions such great heights because they may have limited mobility and less rigid muscles. These animals tend to be very kind and sociable and should lead a normal life in their homes, with much love and affection!