Some kittens can be born with traits that resemble the characteristics of people with down syndrome. So they are soon associated with the condition. But in fact, the term "cat with down" does not exist when we talk about felines! When a kitten is born with these characteristics, the correct name is Trisomy, which occurs when there is an anomaly in the pair of chromosomes 19. To take all the questions awayour doubts on the subject, we talked to Estela Pazos, a veterinarian specializing in feline medicine.
Cat with down: understand more about trisomy
Down Syndrome is an anomaly that only affects humans and occurs when the individual is born with an extra chromosome in the body, in this case the pair of chromosomes 21. When we talk about the domestic cat, this condition has another name and occurs in the pair of chromosomes 19. "Trisomy is a genetic anomaly where the cat has an extra chromosome in its DNA. It occurs when the genetic material of the fetus inIt is not correct to call this condition down syndrome in cats because cats have only 19 chromosomes, that is, they do not have chromosome 21 like humans.", explains the veterinarian.
There are many types of trisomy in cats, not just chromosome 19. This condition can also appear in inbreeding, i.e. when parents are crossed with offspring or between siblings. Trisomy can also occur in pregnant cats affected by a virus, which can cause a deformation in the foetus.
Caring for cat: what neurological symptoms characterize this condition?
The feline specialist explained to us that these animals may have the physical and physiological characteristics of a human being with down syndrome. That is precisely why the misnomer occurs. "Cats with this condition may have difficulty walking, reduced or lost vision or hearing, have little muscle mass and have heart problems. In addition, they havephysical characteristics such as eyes that are separated and turned upwards, a wide nose and smaller ears," explains Estela. Other symptoms that we can find in a kitten with trisomy are:
- Dangling language;
- Motor incoordination;
- Thyroid problems;
- Heart problems;
- Differentiation in skull shape.
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Cat with Down: there is no treatment for this condition
Because it is a chromosomal alteration, there is no treatment to reverse Trisomy in cats. The trusted veterinarian will follow up with the cat and can enter treatments for ailments related to the condition, which can develop in the long term. These problems are mainly related to the difficulty in locomotion that presents itself in many kittens with Trisomy. "It is possible toimprove the quality of life by adapting the home for him and by treating the clinical conditions that appear", explains Estela Pazos. "A cat with trisomy should receive constant veterinary follow-up to monitor his clinical condition and establish the necessary frequency of routine consultations and examinations", she adds.
Cross-eyed cat can lead a normal life like everyone else!
Many people believe that kittens with trisomy cannot have a normal life, but this is not true. What happens is that they may present difficulties that will directly influence their locomotion: they must live in an environment adapted to their needs on a daily basis. "The cat with trisomy may need an environment adapted to its difficulty of locomotion, with the useIf vision is reduced, it may be necessary to train the cat to adapt to the environment through carpets that it feels the texture, "says the specialist. Avoid moving furniture as the cat will find it strange. He may not be able to dodge, and end up hitting some furniture. It may be necessary to adapt the location and type of litter boxes if the cathas difficulty accessing them, "he adds. Veterinarian Estela also says that a behaviorist specializing in felines can help with adaptation.
Regardless of this, it is a fact that they are very affectionate, sociable and loving kittens. Being a cross-eyed cat, with eyes apart or with a different head shape means nothing next to the cuteness and love they can offer you. Adopt a special kitten, they also deserve a lot of love and care.