The original Bengalis were Mongoloid

The Truth Behind "Animals With Down Syndrome"

Some time ago, several online content mills started publishing listicles claiming that animals with deformed faces had Down syndrome. Spoiler Alert: These claims are, as might be expected, false.

Although inbreeding in animals can lead to genetic mutations, Down syndrome is not one of them and only occurs in a few species. "However, the websites that claim they have pictures of cats and other animals with Down syndrome are not being factual," explains Dr. Heather Rally, a PETA veterinarian. that they develop hereditary diseases similar to Down syndrome. "

However, according to the Listicle website Mundo, many animals are born with this syndrome. (Broadly's request to Mundo went uncommented.) An article entitled "14 beautiful pictures of animals with Down syndrome" speaks of a "cute monkey", "a lovable sheep" and "Otto the kitten". "Otto suffers from a deformity that is common in animals with Down syndrome," the article says. "This pretty kitten's eyes are large and further apart."

The cat also appears in a post from YourFeed — with the surprising title “14 beautiful photos of animals with Down syndrome.” Diego the horse is also featured in it. (YourFeed did not respond to Braodly's request.) YourFeed post claims that Otto died of heart failure: "Because Down syndrome is so rare in cats, it's hard to tell whether it is fatal for all cats or not," it says.

Numerous listicles claim that kittens like Otto have Down syndrome. Screenshot: Mundo

Otto was originally a viral hit in Turkey. Even the Turkish press reported on Otto's alleged Down syndrome. When Otto died in 2014, published Hurriyet Daily News—A daily newspaper that describes itself as the "leading news source for Turkey and the region" —an article titled, "Turkey is in mourning for Otto, the kitten with Down syndrome." Tarkan Özçetin, the veterinarian who treated the cat, told the newspaper that Otto's heart failure was "one of the effects of Down syndrome." (Özçetin did not respond to Broadly's request.) But leading American feline experts say it is impossible is that Down syndrome occurs in cats.

“The chromosomal structure of cats is too different for gene mutations to occur that lead to Down syndrome. But there are naturally occurring diseases that can express themselves in a similar way, "says Dr. Rally." In most animals, the most common causes of such congenital diseases are inbreeding-related genetic abnormalities or that the animals are exposed to certain toxins or viruses in the womb. "

Bigger cats have also fallen victim to the click hunters. A PPCorn article titled "19 Pictures of Cute Animals with Down Syndrome" spoke about the tragic fate of a Bengal tiger named Kenny. "He may look evil, but he has a heart of gold," the article reads . “Unfortunately, Kenny passed away in 2008 at the age of nine. Thank you for reading!"

PPCorn didn't respond to Broadly's request, but Kenny spent his final years at the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in the United States and the animal sanctuary responded to Broadly's email. In 2002 they saved Kenny from its original owner. They discovered that Kenny suffered from a facial deformity that occurred as a result of inbreeding. In an e-mail, Patricia Quinn, the park's secretary, says: “It was falsely reported in many articles on the Internet that he had Down's syndrome, although that is actually not true.” The same applies to the other animals that live in the Listicles are presented as animals with Down syndrome.

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