Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs: Symptoms and Diagnosis

What is It?

Progressive retinal atrophy is a hereditary condition in which the rear part of the eye deteriorates. Retinal dysplasia is the same condition but with earlier onset.

What Causes It?

Progressive retinal atrophy is an inherited condition. There are two classifications. Late onset, classified as progressive retinal atrophy, happens in older dogs between 3-9 years. In this condition, the rods and cones that make up the retina disintegrate.

Early onset occurs between 2-3 months. This condition is also called retinal dysplasia. Retinal dysplasia occurs when the rods and cones that make up the retina do not develop properly. The condition leads to blindness quickly. The breeds most affected include:

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What Are The Symptoms?

  • Night blindness
  • Bumping into walls and furniture
  • Difficulty seeing in bright light
  • Unable to follow silent commands

Is it Life Threatening?

No. It causes blindness.

Are You Covered When Your Pup Gets Sick?

How is It Diagnosed?

A veterinarian will perform a thorough ocular exam. Progressive retinal atrophy can take years to fully impair vision, therefore other eye conditions will need to be ruled out.

An electroretinography test measures the eyes’ electrical responses and can determine if progressive damage is present.

What Are The Treatments?

Currently, there are no effective treatments for progressive retinal atrophy. While vitamin supplements have shown no slowing of PRA, they can help alleviate stress on the lens cells and suspend cataract growth.

Know that blindness will not affect your pup as greatly as it would a human. Dogs rely heavily on sense of smell to navigate the world. Your pup will still have a wonderful and fun life, you will just have to help make sure there aren’t many obstacles!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pup’s condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian. Or, consult a virtual vet here.

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Be Prepared for the unexpected.