“Lotus Syndrome” (FADS) in the Silken Windhound

Many species of animals have known the heartbreak of babies being stillborn or not surviving more than a few hours. Some of these babies share a similar physical appearance; the hind limbs are tucked and folded under the belly and the front limbs are stretched underneath the chest with the wrists touching. The back may or may not be twisted (scoliosis) and the baby may or may not have trouble breathing. Some may not show signs of “deformed” joints, but may only have trouble breathing. Common to all affected babies is the lack of vigorous movement.

In the Silken Windhound breed, we have termed this occasional birth defect “lotus syndrome”. The appearance of the hind limbs often appears to be in the yoga “lotus” position. Siblings of pups with this syndrome, who do not show signs of “lotus”, live normal lives with no related health issues. Lotus syndrome can show up in just one puppy in a litter, more than one, or most frequently, none at all.

University of Pennsylvania researchers believe that the “lotus syndrome” found in our Silken Windhound population (as well as that of many other dog breeds) is the same disorder as “fetal akinesia deformation sequence” (FADS) in humans. Children with FADS show the same clinical features as the lotus pups, including the inability to breathe properly. While the exact cause for this disease is unknown at this time, several mechanisms have been proposed. We are willing to look at all of them in Silken Windhounds.

University of Pennsylvania has received a grant to study this disorder in humans. The University of Pennsylvania is excited to lead the research for a genetic marker for this disorder. With our DNA tested and cooperative breeder and owner population, U of Penn has found a willing research partner in the Silken Windhound breed.

Through the partnership of Silken Windhound breeders and owners with University of Pennsylvania, it is hoped that this “health issue” project currently being researched will eventually help scores of human children, other breeds of dog, as well as the Silken Windhound breed to test for, and gradually remove the trait from, our total population with no loss to the genetic diversity in the breed.

We, the Silken Windhound community, are proud to be in the forefront of cutting edge scientific research benefiting human children, other dog breeds, and our own Silken Windhounds to find revolutionary solutions to age old problems.

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