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What to know about PRA
Similar to humans, dogs can suffer from certain genetic diseases that can effect different areas of their bodies, from their overall development to diseases of the eyes and ears. One serious genetic disorder that dogs can get is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), causing impaired vision and most often, blindness.
According to the news outlet, PRA is the name of a group of genetic diseases of the eyes, though it most commonly refers to the unexplained break down of the retina – the vision-sensing part of the eye. The condition is broken down further into generalized progressive retinal atrophy (GPRA) or central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA).
GPRA is when there is gradual loss of vision in both eyes due to the loss of the retinal cells that sense light. Early and late onset forms of the disease are common. Early-onset is generally classified by an abnormality in the development of retinal cells, leading to vision problems while a dog is just a puppy. Late-onset GPRA is when a dog has perfect vision and the cells start to degenerate when the dog is between 3 and 5 years old. CPRA is much more rare and affects the pigmented epithelium – the superficial coating on the retina – causing the retina to lose its ability to process light. It tends to occur in older dogs and has been linked to a vitamin E deficiency, according to the publication.
The source reports that GPRA typically begins with the loss of vision at night or in dim lighting. In early-onset GPRA, the loss of night vision tends to occur before a dog is 6 months old, with complete vision loss by the age of 1 or 2. Late-onset GPRA loss of night vision may occur between the ages of 3 and 5, with total blindness setting in between the ages of 6 and 9. Dogs who develop either form will most likely try to overcompensate for their loss of night vision, making it harder for owners to notice a problem until it is full-blown.
Dogs that are known to suffer from early-onset GPRA include the Belgian shepherd, Welsh Corgi, collie, Irish Setter and Mastiffs. Breeds known to suffer from late-onset GPRA include American and English cocker spaniels, dachshunds, Labrador retrievers and Siberian huskies, among others.
Although there are no known treatments to stop or prevent this disease, owners can help their pets continue to live healthfully and happily. Keeping your dog's pet supplies in one room could help ease its anxiety of the unknown. Put its Plush Memory Sleeper, its pet food like Wellness Super5Mix Dry Dog Food and toys in a safe area, so it has a place it feels comfortable with. Using a plug-in relaxing aid like Comfort Zone for Cats and Dogs may help it feel less anxious.