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Ophthalmologic

This is an eye condition.

Autosomal Dominant Progressive Retinal Atrophy

What is Autosomal Dominant Progressive Retinal Atrophy?

PRA is a retinal disease that causes progressive, non-painful vision loss. The retina contains cells, called photoreceptors, that collect information about light and send signals to the brain. There are two types of photoreceptors: rods, for night vision and movement, and cones, for day vision and color. This type of PRA causes a rapid onset of blindness.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

PRA is a subtle disease and dogs adapt very well to the slow loss of vision. However, with this form of PRA, high intensity light can trigger a rapid decline in vision over 2-4 weeks. You may notice that your dog is reluctant to go down the stairs, bumps into door frames or corners, or takes a longer time to fetch a toy.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Symptoms appear as early as 8 weeks of age, but often are not noticed until a dog is 2-3 years of age.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Veterinarians use a focused light to examine the pupils. In affected dogs, the pupils will appear more dilated and slower to contract. Your vet may also use a lens to visualize the retina at the back of the eye to look for changes in the optic nerve or blood vessels. You may be referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist for a definitive diagnosis.

How is this condition treated?

Currently, there is no definitive treatment for PRA. Supplements, including antioxidants, have been proposed for management of the disease, but have not been scientifically proven effective.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

  • By genetic testing for AD-PRA and avoiding high- intensity light situations, you may prolong your dog’s vision by months to years.