What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?
CEA can cause no observable visual impairment to complete blindness depending on the severity of the disease. Dogs with poor vision will often act hesitant on stairs, bump into doorways or walls, and be disoriented if furniture is moved.
When do signs and symptoms develop?
CEA can be identified by an ophthalmologist when a puppy is 6-8 weeks of age. There are other genetic and environmental factors that likely contribute to the severity of the disease.
How do vets diagnose this condition?
A consult with a veterinary ophthalmologist is the ideal way to diagnose CEA. When the specialist examines the back of the eye, they can visualize the thin, pale, and nearly transparent patches of the choroid. In severe cases, they can identify a coloboma, which is an outpouching of the retina.
How is this condition treated?
There is no treatment for CEA, although surgical intervention can help mitigate the signs of the disease in severe cases. If surgery is not an option, lifestyle changes can be made to help blind dogs adapt to their condition. In mild cases no treatment is required.
What actions should I take if my dog is affected?
In severely affected dogs, keeping furniture in the same location, making sure they are on a leash in unfamiliar territory, and training them to understand verbal commands are some of the ways to help them at home.