Retinal Atrophy in Vizslas
2000, I had an academic argument with Pam Williams. It focused
on unnecessary health tests for Vizslas. My argument was: why
test for diseases that have not been found in Vizslas?. Her argument
was that if you didn't test you wouldn't find the diseases. My
response: How could the diseases exist without symptoms, so why
test if there are no symptoms? Well I lost that argument. Big
the summer of 2002, Flick and I traveled to LA to help my mother
sell her house and move into a retirement community. I found Flick
bumping into things at night. "You stupid dog",
I'd say. After we got home in August, I would point out the squirrels
in the back yard and he appeared not to see them. "You
stupid dog", I found myself saying again.
stupidity was mine. I decided to get his eyes checked. Made an
appointment with an ophthalmologist in Indianapolis. But the day
before the appointment, there was a CERF clinic at the Bloomington
Kennel Club Dog Show. It was the same ophthalmologist. I decided
to go there. After Flick's eyes were dilated and when we saw the
doctor, I told him we had an appointment for the next day and
just came there to see if we needed to keep the appointment.
"You don't need to keep the appointment. He has progressive
retinal atrophy. He will be totally bind in six months. You cannot
do anything about it. You don't need to come tomorrow. It is a
genetic disease. He should never be bred. He should be neutered."
That was it. We had to move on for the next dog.
signs were 1) bumping into things a night (i.e. night blindness)
and 2) a strange green glow to his eyes when light was not directly
shined into them.
a second opinion with the ophthalmologist at Purdue. I could see
his eyes. There was a luminescence which represented the damage.
He still had good perfusion. He said it was a 95% chance of PRA.
returned to have the ERG done. It was only fair to his breeders
to get a 100% diagnosis. The ERG confirmed PRA. He had 0% electrical
activity in his left eye and only 49% in his right eye. But both
eyes still exhibited a blink reflex.
Flick was the only documented case of PRA in Vizsla (CERF and
VCA data) the ophthalmologist said he was defining the disease
in Vizslas. The characteristics are