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.
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.
- 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.
Microphthalmia and Ocular Dysgenesis
- These conditions are commonly associated with a merle coat with excessive white. Microphthamlia is a small eye which appears recessed in the eye socket, and can come with defects in the cornea, lens and retina. Partial deafness can also occur with this condition. Affected pups are often blind, but can compensate well for lost vision.