28 Oct
2010

A video we posted about two little kittens with “fainting goat” syndrome sparked quite a reaction.

Some of your comments: “What is wrong with society that someone could do something so inhuman and downright cruel just for the attention?”

“To create noise around these kittens is cruel . . . can no one notice how afraid they are!!!”

Here’s a bit more info from Wikipedia: “Congenital myotonia (also myotonia congenita) is a genetic, neuromuscular channelopathy that affects muscles used for movement (skeletal muscles). It is congenital, meaning that it is present from birth. Among other problems, it causes delayed relaxation of the muscles (myotonia) and rigidity. The disorder is caused by mutations in the part of an ion channel gene responsible for shutting off electrical excitation in the muscles, causing muscle fiber membranes to have an unusually exaggerated response to stimulation (hyperexcitability). Symptoms include delayed relaxation of the muscles after voluntary contraction (myotonia), and may also include stiffness, hypertrophy (enlargement), sluggishness of the muscles, transient weakness in some mutations, pain, and cramping. The disorder is caused by a genetic mutation involving the chloride channel of the muscles.

Fainting goat kittens video

The prolonged muscle contractions, which occurs most commonly in the leg muscles (more often in dominate mutations) as well as the eyelids and hands, is often enhanced by cold and inactivity, and in some forms is relieved by repetitive movement. This phenomena is known as the warm-up effect, and often diminishes quickly with rest.

Why fainting goat?: A fainting goat is a breed of domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat is startled. Though painless, this generally results in the animal collapsing on its side. The characteristic is caused by a hereditary genetic disorder called myotonia congenita. When startled, younger goats will stiffen and fall over. Older goats learn to spread their legs or lean against something when startled, and often they continue to run about in an awkward, stiff-legged shuffle. – Source Wikipedia

Some fascinating info on myotonia congenita in humans

Further information on diagnosis and management

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