PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which is a group of genetic disorders that affect the retina in dogs and can lead to vision loss and blindness. A “clear” PRA status means that a dog has been tested and does not carry the genetic mutation that causes PRA. This means that the dog is not at risk of developing PRA and will not pass the mutation on to its offspring if it is used for breeding.
Testing for PRA
It is important for breeders to test their dogs for PRA and other genetic conditions to ensure that they are not producing offspring that may be affected by these conditions. By breeding only dogs that are clear for PRA, breeders can help reduce the prevalence of PRA in their breed and improve the overall health and well-being of the dogs they produce.
Testing for PRA is done via DNA analysis or by a blood sample. DNA testing involves collecting a sample of a dog’s DNA, usually by swabbing the inside of its cheek, and sending it to a lab for analysis. Blood draws from dogs are generally done from the leg veins, either the cephalic vein in the front leg or the saphenous vein in the hind leg.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a group of genetic disorders that affect the retina in dogs. The retina is a layer of cells at the back of the eye that is responsible for detecting light and converting it into signals that the brain can interpret as vision. In dogs with PRA, the cells in the retina begin to degenerate, leading to vision loss and eventually blindness.
The onset of PRA can vary, but it usually begins in middle age and progresses slowly over time. In the early stages of PRA, dogs may experience night blindness, which means they have difficulty seeing in low light conditions. As the condition progresses, they may have difficulty seeing during the day as well. In the advanced stages of PRA, dogs may become completely blind.
PRA can be distressing for dogs and their owners, as it can significantly impact their quality of life and ability to perform normal activities. There is currently no cure for PRA, and treatment is focused on managing the symptoms and helping dogs adapt to vision loss. Early detection and breeding practices that avoid producing offspring with the genetic mutation for PRA are key to reducing the prevalence of this condition in dogs.
Higher Risk breeds
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) can affect dogs of any breed. However, certain breeds are more prone to PRA than others. Some breeds that are known to be at higher risk for PRA include:
- Irish Setters
- Cocker Spaniels
- English Springer Spaniels
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- English Cocker Spaniels
- Flat-Coated Retrievers
- Curly-Coated Retrievers
If you are buying a dog from these breeds we strong suggest you make sure both parents are screened for PRA.