Progressive Retinal Atrophy In Labs Is Blinding
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an hereditary condition in Labrador Retrievers. The eyes of these affected dogs are programmed by the genes that they inherit to go blind.
This condition is unfortunately incurable and unstoppable. There is however a way to slow it down.
Being inflicted with this condition does not cause your Lab any discomfort or pain.
The first sign that you might have that your pet has PRA, is seeing the pupils dilated, and there will also often be an increased shiny look to the eyes.
When this becomes noticable the dog will probably already be night blind and will not be able to see well in dimmer light conditions.
The length of time that it takes from first noticing that there is a problem to complete blindness varies.
Under normal conditions this final stage is reached within a year of the first diagnosis by a veterinarian if antioxidants are not being supplemented.
Research is currently being done into the damage done by oxidative stress on the retina and this is giving hope for the dogs affected by this disease.
While it is true that it can't be cured and there is also no approved treatment for PRA certain antioxidant supplements do make a difference to the health of affected dogs retina
The antioxidants are to retard the progress of on setting blindness. They effectively buy time for affected dog.
A dog with PRA is going blind, but as far as a number of experts in the field are concerned, the situation is no longer without hope.
Provided complete blindness has not already been the result, dogs diagnosed with PRA can be gainfully affected by the use of antioxidants.
Dr. Terri L. McCalla D.V.M., M.S., D.A.C.V.O. of Animal Eye Care LLC, along with two others have developed a supplement specifically to aid dogs with this dread condition.
Clinical trails using the supplement developed over a three year period have been very encouraging. The animals have still some vision left.
It needs to be understood that the use of antioxidants will not cure the dog. At best it slows the inevitable and possibly adds a few more years of sight.
If you have the slightest incling that your dog may be afflicted with APR, you should take it to a qualified ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
It should be remembered that your dog will still be a happy dog. It suffers no pain or discomfort due to APR, it will need to adjust to being blind and it is truly remarkable how fast and how well they manage to do this.
There are DNA blood tests available, to determine whether dogs are likely to be carrying the gene affected with Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or not.
Conscientious breeders will normally have had these tests done on all their breeding stock .
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