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10 Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) Facts in Dogs

The retina is considered to be a highly sensitive membrane that lines the eyes from the backside. It performs significant functions like absorbing light, perceiving it as well as reflecting it that ultimately creates a vision.

PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy in a dog is gradual degeneration of the rod as well as the cone and eventually leads to partial or complete blindness.

Although there is a lot left to study the whole concept of PRA, it is largely a genetic disorder. It could be frustrating to know this because your dog may or may not suffer from PRA and you can never be sure. The only solution is to buy a DNA test kit (here are our recommendations) and find out for yourself.

If your dog does test positive for PRA, there is not much you can do about it than studying the signs and symptoms and being more responsible breeders in future. Here are 10 facts about PRA in dogs that could help you to deal more effectively with your dog if need be.

10 Facts About PRA


PRA is not one disorder
Did you know that PRA refers to a host of degenerative eye disorders and not just one? There are various categories and sub-categories that fall under the idea of PRA as a whole.

PRA is not contagious
Unlike skin conditions, PRA is not contagious. This is a genetic disorder that could be passed from one generation to the other. While breeding, if both the male and the female dog has the PRA gene, then the offspring could be impacted by the same.

Symptoms may or may not manifest
It is not essential that your dog will manifest the symptoms of PRA even if it is a carrier. A carrier will only carry the gene and will be perfectly normal without any outward signs.

Breeding PRA carriers should be avoided
If you are a breeder, it is important that you breed responsibly. This is because, while carriers are perfectly normal outside, they do carry the PRA gene within and the more they are bred, the more their genes are passed on. It is difficult to make out which gene has passed and which has not but there is always a chance of creating more carriers and posing greater risks.

Your dog is not lazy
Many pet parents fail to identify the symptoms of PRA in dogs. If your dog manifests signs of night blindness like reluctance to go out in the dark or tendency to explore unknown areas etc then you should get him or she tested for PRA. Your dog is not lazy but could be suffering a good deal.

Night blindness is not the only sign
If you thought that night blindness is the only sign of PRA, then you have got it all wrong. There could be several other signs that could go unnoticed, for example, your dog bumping into walls, reluctance to explore or navigate, compromised papillary responses to light etc.

Recessive or dominant genetic disorder
While some breeds of dogs will get PRA only when it inherits two PRA genes, one from each parent, some other breeds pass on PRA as a dominant gene.

DNA testing does help
The only way to prevent PRA is to test the DNA of the dogs that are to be bred. PRA carriers should be ideally not be bred.

PRA affects both eyes
PRA affects and causes eye blindness in both eyes and eventually leads to complete loss of sight.

PRA is irrevocable
PRA cannot be treated or reversed. It is a permanent situation that results in blindness.

Final Thoughts – Some Hope For Treatment
Although we cannot cure PRA at this current moment, there is still some hope for treatmen. There are medical advances which helps to prolong the daylight vision of affected dogs, thus delaying the onset of PRA.

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