Like humans, doggys also suffer from different kinds of eye problems.The most serious is called Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which can cause blindness in dogs. Progressive retinal atrophy, also called PRA, is an inherited disease of the retina that leads to blindness in dogs. It is a disease common to a lot of breeds. It is considered as a hereditary disease, and affected dogs don’t tend to start to show signs and symptoms until they grow older. Sometimes symptoms of this type of retinal atrophy can appear when dogs are very young as well.
Progressive retinal atrophy affects the cells of the retina called rods and cones but can also affect the pigmented cell layer below the rods and cones. The Rods allow a dog to see movement and in low light conditions, cones allow a dog to see in color, and the pigmented epithelium layer helps to protect and maintain these rods and cones. In this condition, these rods, cones, and/or the pigmented layer deteriorates and is eventually worn away causing blindness.
IT IS HEREDITARY.
PRA is an inherited condition or hereditary. In all breeds in which the type of inheritance has been identified, it is autosomal recessive. This means that each parent must carry an abnormal gene and that two parents who are not affected themselves may produce affected puppies.
The age of onset and rate of progression varies from breed to breed. Usually, the vision becomes affected when the dog is 6-8 years of age. The first sign observed by an affected doggy’s owner is loss of night vision. Changes in behavior attributable to vision decline progress over several months to years until daylight vision is also noticeably affected and they eventually become blind. Some breeds seem to be restricted to male dogs while in others it appears to be due to a dominant gene and is seen in both sexes. Both purebred and mixed breed dogs can have Progressive retinal atrophy.
Unable to follow hand signals/commands
Difficulty seeing at night or in low light
Difficulty seeing in bright light
Getting lost in the dark
Bumping into objects
Unable to find toys
BREEDS that may be affected with early or late-onset PRA include:
American Cocker Spaniel
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
English Cocker Spaniel
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Poodle (Miniature and Toy)
Portuguese Water dog
BREEDS that may be affected with the rarer PRA include:
HOW TO TREAT RPA?
Currently, the use of antioxidant supplements or vitamins has not shown any measurable effect on this disease, although these supplements are not harmful to your pet and they may reduce stress on the lens cells and delay cataract formation. Gene therapy may offer doggys with PRA a cure by introducing a normal copy of the CNGB1 gene but this is not a widely available therapy or cure. Thankfully this is not a painful disease, so helping a doggy navigate its new environment as it loses its vision is your best course of action. Since it is a hereditary disease, progressive retinal atrophy is something that dogs can be born with if their parents had it. Selective breeding should be performed to eliminate dogs showing signs of PRA.