What is retinal atrophy in dogs?
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A dog’s retina is very sensitive to light, and it has photoreceptors that process every light signal around. The cone and rod cells in a dog’s eye have specific reasons why they exist. The rod cells are responsible for low light vision, whereas the cone cells are the ones that detect color.
However, these photoreceptor cells can be affected, and that’s why you want to learn what is retinal atrophy in dogs.
Understanding what is retinal atrophy in dogs
Retinal atrophy in dogs is a group of multiple degenerative diseases. They are affecting the photoreceptor cells like cone and rod cells. These deteriorate in time, and eventually, the dog will become blind. There are different forms of retinal atrophy.
Retinal dysplasia is diagnosed in puppies that are 2-3 months old and then there’s a later-onset that’s usually found in the case of older dogs.
How does this happen?
The photoreceptor cells are developing abnormally. This eventually leads to an early blindness onset. They deteriorate rather quickly, although the truth is that in most cases the rod cells degenerate first. The night vision gets affected first, but then cone cells degenerate too.
Eventually, your dog can remain blind due to this issue, so it’s important to treat it carefully. When you learn what is retinal atrophy in dogs, you will notice that most dog breeds and even mixed breeds can have this.
Some of the commonly affected breeds are the English Springer Spaniel, Bedlington Terrier, Labrador, Rottweiler, and others.
Ways to diagnose retinal atrophy in dogs
This is not a painful condition, so it’s hard to identify this early on. With that being said, the pet’s eyes tend to become very reflective when light shines on them.
Their pupils dilate more than normal. On top of that, affected dogs are nervous at night because they can’t see anything.
The problem is that symptoms are hard to identify early on, but it’s possible to assess and see them quicker in some cases.
How can you treat retinal atrophy in dogs?
While there’s no 100% cure for retinal atrophy, the truth is that there are some methods to get past that. Gene therapy can be an option, but it’s not widely available.
You can also maintain furniture and items in the same position, so your dog remembers where they are. Using antioxidants also seems to slow down the rate of this disease, which is something to keep in mind.
Early detection is preferred, as these treatments can be more efficient.
It’s very important to check your dog’s eyes from time to time and learn what is retinal atrophy in dogs as well.
Go to the vet often and make sure that he performs a quick checkup. This way you can keep your pet safe from retinal atrophy in the long run.
While this can be harder to treat if there are any health issues, simple things like not moving the furniture, giving your dog more antioxidants, or something more complex like gene therapy can be very helpful.
Use these ideas and don’t hesitate to work closely with a professional to keep retinal atrophy away from your pet!