PRA and the Australian Cattle Dog
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an eye disorder wherein the dog that is affected will have the possibility of going blind during its lifetime. This can happen at anytime during a dog’s life from 4 years old but also may never show itself in an affected dog.
PRA is a disease that slowly erodes the cone of vision for a dog. The age at which the dog is affected depends upon the breed. In the Australian Cattle Dog, PRA may begin at the age of 4 years old or can occur at any age after that. The dog will start to have some night blindness, then the peripheral vision will slowly deteriorate, until finally blindness occurs in both eyes.
Some dogs proceed through this transition with ease and live long lives. Other dogs seem to have difficulties coping with the loss of sight and can become stressed. This disease has more than one form, but currently the only form known in Australian Cattle Dogs is “prcd.”
The test for PRA involves sending the blood of your Australian Cattle Dog to Optigen and through markers in the DNA it can be known if your dog is Normal (A) does not carry the gene, a Carrier (B) will not develop the disease but can pass it on to its offspring, or Affected (C) may develop the disease at some point during it’s lifetime and will pass on the gene to it’s offspring.
For this reason we only mate A to A dogs (producing normal offspring), A to B (producing normal and carrier offspring) and A to C (producing carrier offspring).
Hearing test for Cattle Dogs
The Australian Cattle Dog can be born with some hearing problems. This is believed to be due to the Dalmation that was bred into the Australian Cattle Dog.
All puppies can be tested for hearing abnormalities at the age of 5 weeks. A BAER test needs to be run on the Australian Cattle Dog puppies. The BAER tests them for the amount of sound each ear is capable of discerning.
Hips – Rare in Cattle Dogs
Although hip and elbow dysplasia has not been seen to be a severe problem in the Australian Cattle Dog, there have been some cases of this dreadful health disorder and therefore, it is wise to have all dogs that will be used for breeding hip and elbow scored.
Kulnura Cattle Dog Health:
Matilda and Bundy have both been hip / elbow scored, PRA tested, BAER hearing tested and have their eyes regulary checked.