Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a painless condition where there is a gradual deterioration and death of the tissue in the eye’s retina which results in loss of vision over time and total blindness. This deterioration happens in both eyes at the same time.

It is an inherited condition which can be found in most dog breeds. 

Progression of PRA varies from breed to breed with loss of night vision normally occurring from 5 – 8 years of age.

Symptoms of Progressive retinal atrophy in dogs:

There first sign of PRA is the dogs is a loss of night vision. The dog may be hesitant to walk outside at night or in any areas of the house that are not well lit.

In addition to night blindness other signs of PRA may include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • The surface of the eye may appear cloudy.
  • Bumping into walls and objects around the house.
  • Tripping and falling over objects.
  • Loss of co-ordination, especially when taken out of their home environment.
  • Dog may hesitate to walk down stairs or dark hallways.

Treatment of Progressive atrophy in dogs:

At present there is no treatment available for PRA.
The best one can do is to make your dogs’ environment as safe and comfortable as possible.

 Where possible try not to rearrange furniture in the house as a blind pet will often memorize the layout and re-arranging will only cause them to become disorientated and hurt themselves.

If there is a swimming, pond or any other body of water make sure that your dog can’t fall into these.  

Early detection of PRA in infected animals is essential to prevent it from spreading through breeding.

Breeds affected by PRA include:

Alaskan malamute
American cocker spaniel
Belgian shepherd
Border collie
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Chow chow
English cocker spaniel
German shepherd
Golden retriever
Irish setter
Labrador retriever
Miniature schnauzer
Portuguese water dog
Shih Tzu
Siberian Husky
Tibetan spaniel
Tibetan terrier

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All content in this blog is based purely on research done with the aim of giving helpful advice and information to the owners of dogs.

I am not a qualified vet or dog trainer so please use this site as a reference and not as a professional opinion.