Labrador Retriever | Progressive Retinal Atrophy | Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Labrador Retriever dogs can be susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy, also known as progressive retinal degeneration, which is an umbrella term for a number of diseases that lead slowly to blindness. While there are a number of conditions associated with progressive retinal atrophy, all of them affect the retina, the part of the eye that takes in light and converts it to electric nerve, which the brain in term interprets and “sees.” Dogs suffering from these conditions may have inherited them genetically; Again, Labrador Retriever dogs in particular seem to be susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy and subsequent blindness.
Different dogs experience different kinds of symptoms, depending on the rate of progression of the disease. If your Labrador Retriever is having trouble moving around in the dark – such as down a dark hallway or up and down stairs, or seems to have trouble seeing at night, this may be an early symptom of the disease. Likewise, a later symptom of a more advance stage of the disease is when the pupils may become dilated and reflect light from the back of the eye.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and dogs with the condition usually develop full blindness. However, Labrador Retriever dogs can lead full and happy lives even while blind. Your response to your dog's condition should focus on helping your dog adapt to his or her newly diminished abilities – getting rid of furniture “obstacles,” keeping your dog on the ground floor of the house, and keeping a watchful eye on your Labrador Retriever dog.