Dog Breeding – Hereditary Eye Problems

As a dog breeder you need to be aware of potential hereditary problems.  The problems may be infrequent but you still need to be aware of any conditions that could be passed on to your puppies.  Listed below are some of the hereditary conditions you need to be aware of, and the effects they could have on your dogs.

You need to start by learning as much as you can about your particular dog breed.  Thorough screening is essential to prevent problems arising in the future.  To ensure the health and vitality of your pubs you will need to look into the bloodline of your dogs.

Eye problems are frequently encountered by dog breeders.  These problems include:

PRA – Progressive Retinol Atrophy.  If this condition is not treated early enough your dog can become totally blind.  Some breeds develop the condition once they reach 2 – 3 years of age, or even before the breeding period.  In some cases the condition does not develop until the dog is aged between 4 and 8 years.  For Red Setter breeders there is a test which can identify whether or not their dogs are carriers.  It is vital to have the test carried out at an early stage.  Late onset PRA can seriously affect breeding programs. CEA – Collie Eye Anomaly.  Collie breeds including the border, bearded, smooth, and rough varieties, as well as closely related other breeds, can suffer from this condition.  The condition is hereditary, and varies in severity from minor sight loss to total blindness.  Even if your dog is not displaying any symptoms of CEA it could be a carrier of the condition.  This condition can then be passed on to the pups with disastrous results. Retinal Dysplasia – this condition can result in total blindness.  The condition can be detected in pups, but late onset can make it very difficult to detect in older dogs. Entropion and Ectropion – these are conditions affecting the dog’s eyelids.  Entropion is where the eyelids turn inward, and Ectropion is where they turn out.  There is pain associated with these both of these conditions. Cataracts – you will need to identify whether or not your dog suffers from juvenile cataracts.  If the condition is detected you will need to find another dog to breed.  Cataracts can occur for a number of different reasons, and they can also take on a variety of forms.

Dogs should be checked annually by a vet certified by the AVCO.  If you live in the United States you should visit the CERF or Canine Eye Registry Foundation, as dogs registered here will be free of any eye conditions.  It is important to have your dogs checked annually to ensure they are free of any hereditary eye problems.  Some conditions may show up later in the dog’s life, but if you consult with the CERF you can be sure you’re breeding to a dog with no potential eye problems.

Dog breeding is a serious undertaking.  Regardless of whether you’re breeding pups for fun or profit you need to make sure they’re in top condition; after all no-one wants a pup with eye problems.  As a breeder it is your responsibility to check your dogs are neither affected by eye problems, nor acting as carriers of the conditions.

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