There are a number of different eye diseases in dogs and PRA is just one of them.
PRA affects Miniature Smooth Haired, Miniature Long Haired and Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds.
It is however a relatively common cause of blindness and a wide number of breeds are susceptible.
So it is important when looking for a puppy that you check out the eye health of his/her parents.
PRA is a disease of the retina, the membrane that lines the back of the eye, and which contains the tiny receptors that record what we see, and send that information to the brain.
A dog’s eye is constructed in a very similar way to your own eye. Without a retina, or with a retina that is damaged or not functioning effectively, we cannot see and neither can our dogs.
PRA causes a gradual and incurable degeneration of the retina in both eyes, the affected dog’s sight will diminish and he/she could eventually become completely blind.
PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Progressive because the disease causes the dog to become progressively more blind as time goes on.
Retinal because the damage is to the retina itself
Atrophy because that’s the word scientists like to use for something that is degenerating or being destroyed.
There are many different types of retinal atrophy and companies such as The Animal Health Trust and Laboklin which we use, have developed a range of tests to help breeders chose healthy dogs to breed from.
DNA tests are particularly helpful because they identify three categories of dog
Every dog has two copies of the gene which is responsible for the health of the rod cells in his/her eyes. They will have inherited one of these copies from each of his/her parents. If only one of the pair of genes is faulty, the healthy gene will over-ride it, and the disease will not develop
PRA Affected dogs have two faulty genes and will all go on to get PRA at some point.
They will eventually lose their eyesight, sometimes at a very young age. If they are allowed to mate, they should ALWAYS be mated to a PRA CLEAR dog.
Carriers have one faulty gene and one healthy gene. The healthy gene will switch off the faulty gene and a carrier will never develop retinal atrophy.
A Carrier should always be mated to a PRA CLEAR Dog.
Clear dogs have two healthy genes. What PRA clear means, is that the puppy or dog can never develop retinal atrophy.
The PRA clear dog can also never pass the gene for PRA on to their puppies.
This makes them ideal candidates for breeding. But the blood test has an added bonus.
Our breeding programme ensures none of our puppies will develop PRA.
Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) can cause a number of symptoms in domestic dogs , ranging from signs of mild pain to partial or complete paralysis. Most cases fall somewhere in between these two extremes. The signs of IVDD can mimic those of acutely ruptured disks such as from trauma or otherwise, but the causes are very different. IVDD occurs more commonly in certain breeds but can occur in any breed or mix of breeds and in dogs of any age or gender. IVDD can lead to permanent nerve damage, making timely recognition and intervention extremely important.
The observable signs of intervertebral disk disease can be quite variable. Owners of affected dogs may notice one or more of the following symptoms, which can be sudden, intermittent or gradual in onset:
Owners often notice similar signs after their dog has engaged in strenuous physical activity or experienced acute physical trauma. An acutely ruptured disk can be caused in an otherwise normal dog by jumping off high places, jumping out of a car or off the bed of a pick-up truck, playing a rousing game of fetch or Frisbee or leaping out of an owner’s arms, among other activities. A healthy dog can also suffer acute-onset of disk damage when it has been hit by a car, attacked by another animal or experienced some other form of trauma. This type of acute traumatic injury is not the same as IVDD, although the symptoms can be very similar. IVDD involves a degenerative process and does not result merely from sudden trauma, although sudden trauma can cause rupture or herniation of an intervertebral disk in a dog whose disks already are weakened by IVDD.
Intervertebral disk disease occurs primarily in middle-aged chondrodystrophic breeds (3 to 6 years). When it occurs in nonchondrodystrophic breeds, they typically are older (8 to 10 years). “Chondrodystrophy” is a disorder of cartilage formation. “Cartilage” is a specialized, tough, gristly type of connective tissue that essentially provides a model for bone development and growth. In chondodystrophic breeds such as Dachshunds, Bulldogs and Bassett Hounds, chondrodystrophy is seen as characteristic angular limb deformities and abnormally short legs otherwise known as hereditary dwarfism. Other chondrodystrophic breeds include Beagles, Corgis, Cocker Spaniels, Pekingese, Shih-Tzus and Poodles. Nonchondrodystrophic breeds that are commonly affected by IVDD include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Doberman Pinschers. Obese dogs of predisposed breeds are especially likely to suffer from IVDD.
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