When your veterinarian examines your dog’s eyes, she may notice an increase in the reflectivity of the back of the eye, or in some cases, vets can see areas of the retina that are detached. Many veterinarians will then recommend that your pup be evaluated by a veterinary ophthalmology specialist. Once there, the ophthalmologist can perform a confirmatory test known as an electroretinogram (ERG).
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for retinal dysplasia or PRA. Some veterinarians suggest that supplements and antioxidants can help with other aspects of eye disease, but they will not prevent PRA or retinal dysplasia from occurring. This is still an area of active research.
For now, it is best for owners to focus on keeping their dogs comfortable and to avoid moving furniture around so that their dog is less likely to bump into things.
Scientists have determined that there is a genetic component to these diseases. Therefore, if you plan on breeding your dog, ask your veterinarian about confirmatory testing to ensure that your pup doesn’t carry the gene responsible. Golden Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bedlington Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels have an increased risk for developing PRA.
Retinal dysplasia is a degenerative eye issue that causes the cells in the retina to atrophy. When adult dogs develop this eye disease, it is known as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), but it is still referred to as retinal dysplasia in puppies. It is a non-painful illness but will cause gradual vision loss, and there is no way to treat or prevent it from occurring.
If you are planning on breeding your dog, make sure to have them evaluated for the gene responsible for causing it.