What is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in dogs?
It is an eye disorder.
The retina is being damaged as time goes by.
There are two types of this condition, generalized PRA and focal PRA.
Generalized PRA involves the damage of the entire retina whilst focal PRA only affects a part of the retina.
The retina contains small cells that capture light and transfer it to the brain, where it is then turned into a message. When PRA happens, these cells or receptors as they are called, are damaged.
This illness is common in Shih Tzu and often can lead to blindness. No reliable treatment has been found for this condition, but dogs can live with the condition.
PRA is a genetic condition, meaning it is passed down from Mother or Father. The condition affects both eyes and leads to blindness.
What are the disease signs?
Another sign could be when the dog owner takes their dog to the vet, the dog will hit objects and are unable to avoid them. However, this condition does not affect them massively, this is because dogs can move about as normal using their sense of smell and hearing. Sight issues will be noticed more when the dog is taken away from normality, such as taken on a different route for walking.
What are the causes?
This condition is passed on from Mother and Father and it may happen to young puppies as early as 10 weeks old.
Some nutritional deficiencies may also cause PRA, such as taurine deficiency, or vitamin A or E deficiency.
Is PRA dangerous for my Shih Tzu? Can this make him blind?
The disease is common in Shih Tzu, so your dog may be at risk.
Blindness depends on the type of PRA your dog has. If it is focal PRA, then your dog may still be able to see. However, if it is generalized PRA, then permanent blindness may occur.
Is PRA painful for my Shih Tzu?
Normally, it is not painful.
For focal PRA, the outlook is good, the dog can still see and enjoy its life, but for generalized PRA, this is a more serious condition as permanent blindness may follow.
The condition is not painful unless the dog has other conditions such as glaucoma.
Treatment options for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in dogs
Unfortunately, the condition cannot be treated with antibiotics, eye drops or dog ointment and does not go away on its own.
PRA is not contagious to other dogs or humans.
There are currently no options for surgery.
PRA is a condition that pet owners need to learn how to deal with. With focal PRA, the dog can see and behave normally. If it is generalized, attention and extra care must be provided.
PRA is a genetic condition. Nothing can be done to prevent.
If your dog has a medical issue, please consult your own veterinarian for treatment and further advice!