For as well as humans have adapted to the ever-changing world over the last few million years, we’re still afflicted with a lot of really weird medical issues. People develop physical anomalies all the time (you’ve seen people who can’t stop growing, right?) and others fall into emotional and psychological disarray.
But bizarre medical issues are not left to humans alone: these 10 strange syndromes affect only our beloved pets and other wild animals trouncing around the animal kingdom. After checking out the medical hardships some animals face, some serious human issues won’t seem so bad…
1. Balloon Syndrome: Like the name of this condition implies, balloon syndrome occurs when a hedgehog puffs up so much it begins to resemble an inflated balloon. Scientists don’t fully understand the disorder, but they do know it occurs when air becomes trapped under the animal’s skin.
aCuteFatSoftDogBelly / Imgur
Some speculate balloon syndrome may occur as the result of a punctured lung, so when the hedgehog breathes it’s actually sending air under its skin. By puncturing small holes on the body, vets can release this built-up air until the hedgehog’s lungs have fully healed.
2. Black Dog and Black Cat Syndrome: According to most animal shelters, black dogs and black cats are less likely to be adopted than non-black animals. This is likely due to the fact that dark-colored animals typically lack distinguishing features, making adopters less apt to notice them.
However, this phenomenon may actually be a result of the superstitions surrounding black animals. Black cats are most commonly associated with witchcraft and bad luck, while some believe that black dogs are actually vampires in disguise.
boosifur / Tumblr
3. Floppy Trunk Syndrome: The name of this disorder may sound funny, but its effects are deadly for the suffering animal. Floppy trunk syndrome causes elephants’ trunks to go limp, making it difficult for them to eat and putting them at risk of starvation.
This condition is caused by heavy metal poisoning. If an elephant ingests a large amount of concentrated lead – commonly found in dry riverbeds – the nerve endings in its trunk will become paralyzed, rendering the appendage useless.
4. High-Rise Syndrome: This disorder refers to the act of cats falling from great heights. Cats are known to scale tall objects and high places, but doing so puts them at great risk of falling, which happens quite often.
Surprisingly, cats are more likely to get injured from a fall of less than two stories than one of a greater height. This is because falls of more than two stories allow the cats more time to land on their feet, whereas a short fall does not give such luxury.
5. Rage Syndrome: Also known as sudden onset aggression, dogs suffering from this disorder will suddenly attack anyone around them, especially if approached while sleeping. Remarkably, most dogs suffering from rage syndrome won’t recall an attack if one does take place.
Animal Wellness Magazine
Unlike some of the others on this list, rage syndrome is a genetic disorder. Springer Spaniels are most likely to suffer from this condition, but Dobermans, Poodles, and even Golden Retrievers are known to exhibit symptoms of rage syndrome.
6. Irritable Male Syndrome: A disorder typically observed in Soay sheep, reindeer, and other male animals with seasonal breeding patterns, irritable male syndrome occurs as a result of low testosterone levels. Male animals will become nervous and aggressive, attacking almost anything that irks them.
Unsurprisingly, this phenomenon also occurs in human males between the ages of 40 and 60. Considered by researchers to be the male version of menopause, these men are prone to sudden fits of anger, irritation, and hostility.
Epic Eats Blog
7. Limber Tail Syndrome: Also called acute caudal myopathy, limber tail syndrome causes a dog’s tail to go completely limp. This disorder occurs when a dog engages in tiring activities or gets exposed to cold water, which prevents blood from reaching the tail and causes it to swell.
Fine Art America
This syndrome is particularly painful for afflicted dogs, and most sufferers will refuse to sit, eat, or even relieve themselves because of the pain. Luckily, the condition isn’t permanent and will usually pass after a few days.
8. Domestication Syndrome: This syndrome is indiscriminate, meaning that no one species is more susceptible than others. Domestication syndrome is caused by the domestication of an animal, leading to droopy ears, lighters coats, and smaller brains, among other notable traits.
The Golf Club
Russian farmer Dmitry Belyaev was the first to notice this phenomenon after he began domesticating silver foxes in the 1950s. After breeding them through 20 generations, he discovered the foxes had lost most of the traits possessed by their wild counterparts, leaving them docile and ill-equipped.
9. Small Dog Syndrome: This condition is most prevalent in – you guessed it – small dogs. Any dog suffering from this disorder will typically become overly aggressive when around other dogs or humans, growling and biting at anything they perceive to be a threat.
Animal experts believe that small dog syndrome is fueled by the behavior of the pet’s owner. If an owner becomes lax with a dog’s training and allows it to get away with things a larger dog would not, this reinforces the bad behavior and may lead to this disorder.
10. Berserk Male Syndrome: Another disorder that causes sudden fits of aggression, berserk male syndrome causes animals such as llamas, alpacas, and peacocks to attack anything in their paths. This condition is caused by pet owners that allow these animals to stay around them when they are young.
Being around humans from a young age will cause these animals to view their owners as members of their pack, which can become dangerous once the animal reaches adulthood. A territorial animal suffering from berserk male syndrome will attempt to attack anyone who invades their personal space.