6 Animals with Down Syndrome or Similar Conditions

Searching for animals with down syndrome? Animals can essentially foster disturbance in the same way that humans can, despite being the only living being capable of doing so.

One in 1,000 newborns has down syndrome, which is among the most prevalent genetic diseases in people.

You might be wondering if any animals have the condition. A short search will turn up some creatures that have gained notoriety for having characteristics resembling those of Down syndrome, thus it appears that the internet believes there are.

The reality about these animals and Down syndrome could surprise you! Continue reading to learn how to distinguish between the truth and myths.

What is Down Syndrome?

People with Down syndrome are born with an extra chromosome due to a genetic abnormality. In the body, chromosomes are discrete “packages” of genes.

They control how a baby’s body develops during pregnancy and after birth, determining how it will look and work.

In the majority of cases, each cell in a person’s body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. When a person is diagnosed with Down syndrome, their cells contain 47 total chromosomes instead of 46 because they have an additional copy of chromosome 21.

Trisomy is the medical word for having an extra copy of a chromosome. Trisomy 21 is another term used to describe Down syndrome. Their physical and mental development is altered as a result.

Even while some individuals with Down syndrome may act and appear alike, each one has unique skills.

Individuals with Down syndrome typically have mild to moderately low IQs (a measure of intelligence) and speak more slowly than other children.

The following are some Down syndrome physical characteristics:

  • Flattened features, especially the bridge of the nose
  • Upward-slanting almond-shaped eyes
  • Little hands and feet
  • A short neck
  • Small ears
  • A tongue that protrudes from the mouth
  • Tiny white specks on the iris of the eye
  • Tiny pinky fingers that occasionally curl toward the thumb
  • A single line running across the palm
  • Poor muscle tone or weak joints
  • Shorter height in both toddlers and adults are all signs of short stature

Is it possible for an animal to have down syndrome?

Hence, the question is, are animals even capable of having down syndrome? Theoretically, no, but very similar illnesses can manifest in both of them. In each of their cells, humans contain 23 pairs of chromosomes.

Chromosome 21 has an extra copy (either full or partial), which causes Down syndrome. As a result, the cell develops a trisomy, which is a condition in which an extra copy of a chromosome is present.

Due to its underlying cause—a third extra copy of chromosome 21—Down syndrome is often referred to as trisomy 21.

Technically speaking, animals cannot have the same genetic condition as people, even though they can have physical or developmental defects that are quite similar to Down syndrome.

For starters, just because an animal possesses chromosome 21 doesn’t guarantee that it performs all human activities. In light of this, Down syndrome in humans does not always exhibit the same symptoms in animals when chromosome 21 is defective.

In addition, chromosome 21 is not even present in many mammals. Cats, for instance, only have 19 chromosomes.

6 Animals with Down Syndrome or Similar Conditions

We compiled a list of several animals that truly have other illnesses but that some people might mistake for Down syndrome.

  • Apes
  • White Tigers
  • Mice
  • Cats
  • Giraffes
  • Dogs

1. Apes

Apes are animals known to get a disease that is most similar to Down syndrome. Chromosome 22 of apes, which has 24 pairs of chromosomes, is substantially similar to the human chromosome 21.

One chimpanzee with an extra copy of chromosome 22 and signs of Down syndrome was the subject of research. The chimpanzee had heart issues, and developmental issues, and become blind by the time he was 7 years old.

The disorder was nonetheless described by scientists as “analogous” to Down syndrome. This means that while it performs a similar job, its structure is different (like comparing airplane wings to bird wings).

2. White Tigers

You may be familiar with Kenny the tiger, who was saved in 2002 and spent his final years at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Reserve in Arkansas. Kenny passed away in 2008.

Wide-set eyes, a mouth that wouldn’t close all the way, and a small snout made his face stand out as notably unusual. He was sometimes referred to as the “tiger with Down syndrome” and became somewhat famous online.

In actuality, rather than chromosome abnormalities, Kenny suffered from hereditary facial deformities brought on by inbreeding. In the wild, white tigers are quite uncommon.

But since they are so attractive, both zoos and fur traders want to keep them to capitalize on their fame. Sadly, this leads to aggressive breeding programs that depend on inbreeding to continue producing tigers with white fur.

The American Zoological Association outlawed this practice in 2011 due to the unpleasant medical issues that might result from inbreeding and injuring the animal.

3. Mice

Researchers have discovered that chromosomal abnormalities can occur in mice. Individuals may acquire a second copy of chromosome 16 that causes symptoms resembling those of Down syndrome.

Yet, it is hardly ever observed in populations of wild mice since offspring with this abnormality often pass away before birth. Only because they genetically engineered the conditions in lab mice to analyze them do researchers even know the potential exists.

4. Cats

When it comes to “Down syndrome pets,” cats are likely the animal that enjoys the greatest social media appeal. But as we just mentioned, cats lack chromosome 21. These are three famous people with their ailments:

  • Otto the kitten, whose early demise was attributed to Down syndrome, really had aberrant facial traits that were most likely the result of a hormonal imbalance or genetic mutation.
  • Little Bub the cat had multiple genetic abnormalities, including extra toes and feline dwarfism, which made it difficult for her to maintain the tongue in her mouth.
  • Despite having a sunken nasal bridge due to a chromosomal issue, Monty the cat does not have Down syndrome.

5. Giraffes

Even though giraffes are typically thought of as having the longest legs, miniature giraffes do exist, which can be unexpected. These creatures don’t have Down syndrome, though.

They have skeletal dysplasia, a genetic condition that results in the spine, limbs, legs, and skull having improperly shaped bones.

Another problem that can affect giraffes is comparable to birth asphyxia, in which the baby is deprived of oxygen and does not fully grow.

For instance, Julius the giraffe, who was born at the Maryland Zoo, suffered nerve damage that caused his tongue to be paralyzed and caused his head to droop to the right.

6. Dogs

Large tongues are a typical Down syndrome symptom as well as a typical macroglossia symptom in dogs.

Dogs with macroglossia often have excessively long tongues that hang out constantly due to swollen cells or muscle tension.

Their tongues have a limited range of motion and might make breathing difficult.

Although it can be simple to believe a dog with macroglossia has Down syndrome, the issue typically develops for other causes. An allergic reaction or exposure to illnesses like hypothyroidism are two examples.


Why are some animals listed online as having Down syndrome although we now know that Down syndrome cannot physically exist in animals?

Primarily because when an animal is born with signs that resemble those of Down syndrome in people, people automatically believe that the animal also has that condition.

Although they are more likely to suffer the negative impacts of genetic issues and inherit characteristics from their human relationships, not all animals can have a down-jumble.

Even though the virus is different from the one that causes disease, it can provide the creature with similar visual and mental talents.

Although if the only other living creature capable of doing so is a person, other species are capable of causing a condition that is fundamentally comparable to an infection.


Editor at EnvironmentGo! | providenceamaechi0@gmail.com | + posts

A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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