Turkey mourns for Otto, the kitten diagnosed with Down’s syndrome
Umut Erdem ANKARA
Otto was 'probably the first cat diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in Turkey,' vets have said. HÜRRİYET Photos / Rıza Özel
A 2.5 month-old kitten that attracted public interest in Turkey after a veterinarian diagnosed him with Down’s syndrome has died due to heart failure.
The kitten, named Otto, passed away in Ankara on July 13, the city’s specialist Cat Hospital announced. Tarkan Özçetin, the vet who owns the hospital, told daily Hürriyet that the unexpected death was caused by heart failure, which he described as “one of the effects of Down’s syndrome.”
“His condition was good in the morning. He was eating regularly, urinating and defecating as usual. There was no sign of illness or anything that made us suspicious. But his condition suddenly worsened and he had spasms in the afternoon. We urgently transferred him to the intensive care section but we couldn’t save him. We’re very sorry,” Özçetin said.
The vet had announced earlier this month that Otto was “probably the first cat diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in Turkey.”
“It’s a very rare condition for cats. The shape of his face and the structure of his forehead show that he has Down’s syndrome,” Özçetin had said.
However, the diagnose could not be verified, as Otto, a stray cat before his adoption, died before blood tests on his chromosomes could be completed.
Although all animals can have genetic abnormalities affecting their appearance and behavior, Down’s syndrome is widely considered a human-specific condition, as it is caused by the trisomy of the 21st chromosome, which is only found in humans.