Hereditary Eye Disorders

Many breeds of dogs have been reported to develop hereditary eye problems including cataracts, entropion, ectropion, trichiasis, distichiasis, and progressive retinal atrophy. Some of these disorders are blinding. Most of these disorders are hereditary, and the best method for preventing them from occuring or at least minimizing the occurence is for all breeding stock to be examined annualy by a board certified canine opthamologist. If you are considering purchasing a puppy, please ask to see copies of the parents eye exams. Do not take the owners word that their vet says the parents eyes are OK. We have seen regular vets miss very mild cases of hereditary eye disorders.

Cataracts are, to the best of our knowledge, the most common of the hereditary eye problems. The most common form is known as juvenile cataracts because of it's early onset. Whether or not an animal will become blind depends on the breed, in some breeds they are vision impairing in others they are not.

Entropion and ectropion are the turning in or out of the eye lids which can result in the lashes irritating the eye ball. Trichiasis and distichiasis are the presence of extra hairs or lashes that can also irritate the eye. Chronic tearing is one of the most common symptoms. In some cases surgery may be required to correct the problem. If you notice your dog tends to tear all the time you should probably have him examined to rule out these conditions.

Progressive retinal atrophy is a degeneration of the dog's retina. This is a condition that appears to run in certain blood lines and can lead to complete blindness at an early age.

These are some of the more common hereditary eye disorders. For more information about these disorders please refer either to your own vet, a board certified opthamologist or to the links below.

Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)

Veterinary Opthamology Infocentre

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