What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?
Affected dogs may have visual impairment which may be observed as being reluctant to go down the stairs, bumping into door frames or corners, taking a longer time to fetch a toy, or displaying behavior concerns. Affected dogs may have abnormalities in one or both eyes including persistent pupillary membranes (PPM), retinal and optic nerve malformations, cataracts, deformed lens, and abnormal eye movement (congenital nystagmus).
When do signs and symptoms develop?
Severe ocular abnormalities may be observed at birth. In milder cases, changes may be observed on ophthalmologic examination at between one to 12 months of age.
How do vets diagnose this condition?
Affected dogs may have changes observed on a basic eye examination or a more comprehensive exam performed after dilating the pupils. The definitive diagnosis of retinal dysfunction is by electroretinography (ERG), which records the electrical potentials of the retina in response to a light stimulus. Referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist may be needed for a definitive diagnosis.
How is this condition treated?
Currently, there is no treatment for this condition.
What actions should I take if my dog is affected?
- Careful monitoring by your veterinarian will be required for the rest of your affected dog's life as secondary complications can develop.
- Help affected dogs navigate their homes and the outside world by keeping your furniture in the same location, adjusting light exposure, making sure they are on a leash when in unfamiliar territory, and training them to understand verbal commands.
- Most dogs with this condition are euthanized at a young age. You and your veterinarian can discuss the best ways to keep your dog comfortable and monitor their quality of life.