a fatal syndrome.
A puppy born with Lotus syndrome has no possibility to
survive. Some are stillborn.
suckling instincts, have trouble breathing.
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
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.
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
Windhound breeders in USA send puppies that are stillborn or die
to the scientists of the University of Pennsylvania, regardless
if Lotus is suspected or not. This way we know for sure if a pup
was suffering from Lotus or not. It also provides the scientists
with "normal" puppies, that died for other reasons,
such as oxygen deprivation due to a prolonged delivery for example,
and those puppies are needed as well, to establish a normal base
line to compare with. It also saves us from the complicated moral
dilemma that would arise if the scientists said they need healthy
pups for test purposes ...
We hope this
will help the researchers to find the DNA markers
that will provide us with a DNA test to spot
carriers of this gene, in order to breed it out.
Due to transportation
restrictions regarding tissue samples and dead animals, the breeders
outside USA are unable to participate in this cause.
and 2002, the Silken Windhound breeder community was in despair
over Lotus. We have no way of knowing if a dog is a carrier of
the Lotus gene unless this dog is bred to another carrier and
actually produce Lotus puppies. We poured over pedigrees, made
charts, tried to guess who might be a carrier and who might not.
To no avail. We knew the answer to our problems would be a DNA
marker test, but we were painfully aware that we did not have
the millions and millions of dollars that would be required to
engage scientists in the quest of finding these markers.
We were lucky
enough that Gloria Hyland-Fisher, kennel
Cool Run ran into one of the scientists at the University
of Pennsylvania that studies FADS in humans. To make a long story
short - that is how we came to be included in their studies and
finally have a chance of finding out more about Lotus, and hopefully
get a DNA marker test that will allow us to avoid Lotus litters
in the future. It will give us the means to breed this horrible
threat to our puppies out of the breed altogether.
now, we still have no way of identifying a Lotus gene carrier
unless this dog produce Lotus pups. Until the DNA marker test
is available, all we can do is breed and pray ...