Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a term for retinal degenerations occurring in many breeds of dogs. The disease results in a degeneration of the light-sensitive membrane at the back of the eye – the retina – resulting in loss of vision, and often leading to blindness.
PRA has been diagnosed in all varieties of Dachshunds but there has been a predominant incidence in the mini long haired variety. Up until the beginning of 2005, canine ophthamologists could only diagnose whether or a mini long dachshund had PRA or did not have PRA at the time of the test.
Breeders had no indication as to the carrier status of their dogs. Although there is rare incidence of blindness in mini smooths, the AHT have discovered that they too can carry the gene mutation and have accordingly developed a test for mini smooths.
Following many years of research the Genetics Services Division of Animal Health Trust in Suffolk, United Kingdom have developed a DNA test that identifies three important factors to eliminate this disease.
Affected – dogs that have no clinical symptoms but will develop the disease assuming they live to an appropriate age.
Carriers – dogs that have the mutation of the gene. They will never develop the disease but would pass the gene on to 50% their offspring.
Clear dogs – these dogs do not carry this mutation of the gene and will never develop PRA.
Breeders now have information to guide their future direction as responsible custodians of the breed.
How does this affect the puppy buyer? Can you safely buy a mini long or mini smooth puppy as a pet?
The answer is yes. Discuss the latest scientific findings with your breeder.
It is imperative that pet owners not breed from a dog that is PRA Affected or a PRA Carrier.
For more information go to http://www.aht.org.uk/genetics_dachpra.html