Common health issues
- The retina lines the back of the eye and is responsible for transmitting visual stimulus to the brain. Retinal dysplasia is a malformation of the retina which can range from mild retinal folds to severe dysplasia with detachment of the retina and blindness. Visually impaired dogs generally adapt to life well due to their keen sense of smell.
- Cataracts describes the transparency of the lens in the eye.While cataracts are a common finding in older dogs, many breeds, including Cavaliers, have a genetic predisposition to juvenile cataracts, i.e., occurring in young animals. Hereditary cataracts can occur as early as six months of age and progress to complete loss of vision by two years old. The good news is that most affected lenses can be treated surgically. Cost of treatment: $1,500 to $3,000 per lens.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- The retina is responsible for transmitting light to the brain where it is interpreted as an image. PRA causes deterioration of retinal cells and causes blindness. It can affect puppies as young as a few weeks old, or may appear later in life. There is no treatment or cure, but blind dogs usually can lead quite happy lives.
- Pannus or chronic superficial keratitis is a progressive eye disease thought to be caused by an inappropriate immune response. It commonly affects both eyes. Medical treatment can often be successful in controlling it but the condition is life-long.
- Muscular dystrophy is a progressive muscular disease seen in young dogs and cats. Clinical signs of enlarged muscles, excess salivation and stiff gait are seen in pets as young as 5 months old. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for muscular dystrophy, and affected pets have a poor prognosis.