If you’re a dog owner, then you should be aware of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a condition that can lead to blindness in your pet. This article will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of PRA in dogs. By being informed, you can provide the best possible care for your furry friend. Let’s get started.
What’s Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs?
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative disease of the retina. It’s characterized by the gradual loss of photoreceptor cells, which are essential for vision. As the condition progresses, your dog may experience night blindness first, followed by difficulty seeing during the day. Ultimately, PRA can lead to complete blindness.
There are many different causes of PRA, but the most common is genetics. Breeds that are more prone to developing PRA include American Eskimo Dogs, Australian Cattle Dogs, Beagles, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Border Collies, Boxers, Dalmatians, Doberman Pinschers, English Setters, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Miniature Poodles, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Welsh Corgis.
Other Causes of PRA
In addition to genetics, there are other potential causes of PRA in dogs.
- Illness: Certain illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer, can lead to PRA. Certain illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer, can lead to PRA.
- Trauma: Eye trauma, such as being hit in the eye or getting something in the eye, can also cause PRA.
- Age: As dogs age, they’re more likely to develop PRA.
Symptoms of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs
The symptoms of PRA vary depending on the stage of the disease. In the early stages, you may not notice any symptoms at all. As the disease progresses, you may notice that your dog is having difficulty seeing at night or in low-light conditions. He may also bump into things more often or seem clumsy. In the late stages of PRA, your dog will likely be completely blind.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your dog to the vet right away. Only a certified veterinary ophthalmologist can definitively diagnose PRA.
Diagnosis of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs
If you notice any symptoms of PRA, it’s important to take your dog to the vet right away. Only a certified veterinary ophthalmologist can definitively diagnose PRA.
There are several tests that can be done to diagnose PRA, including:
- Eye examination: Your vet will examine your dog’s eyes for signs of PRA.
- Electroretinography (ERG): This test measures the electrical activity of the retina in response to light.
- Fluorescein angiography: This test involves injecting a fluorescent dye into your dog’s vein and then taking pictures of his retina.
- Genetic testing: If PRA is suspected to be genetic, your vet may recommend genetic testing.
Treatment of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PRA. Treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and making your dog as comfortable as possible.
If your dog has PRA, it’s important to keep him away from stairs, sharp objects, and other hazards. You might also want to get him a harness or collar with a bell so that you can keep track of him. It’s also important to provide your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
Adapting Exercise for Dogs with PRA
If your dog has PRA, it’s important to provide him with plenty of exercise. However, you’ll need to make sure that the exercises are appropriate for his condition.
For example, if your dog is blind, you’ll need to take extra care to supervise him so that he doesn’t run into something or get lost. As mentioned above, you might also want to get him a harness or collar with a bell so that you can keep track of him.
If your dog is partially blind, you’ll need to be careful about the type of exercise you do. Avoid anything that could potentially cause your dog to fall, such as hiking on uneven terrain. Stick to flat, well-lit areas, such as a park or sidewalk.
Preventing Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs
There is no way to prevent Progressive Retinal Atrophy in dogs. However, if you’re thinking about breeding your dog, it’s important to have him tested for the disease first. That way, you can avoid breeding dogs that are carriers of the disease.
Progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative disease of the retina that ultimately leads to blindness. There is no cure for PRA, but treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and making your dog as comfortable as possible.
If you think your dog may have PRA, it’s important to take him to the vet right away.