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Retinal Degeneration in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Written by aslmad.yaz


Retinal degeneration in dogs is a medical condition that causes issues with the way a dog sees and can even lead to blindness. It happens when the cells of the retina, which is classified as being part of a dog’s central nervous system, degrade.

This condition seems to affect certain breeds more than others, including Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Siberian Huskies.

If you see signs that your dog might be developing eye issues, then you must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and advice. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of retinal degeneration in dogs.

Symptoms of retinal degeneration in dogs

Retinal degeneration in dogs is a condition that can bring on a range of symptoms. Some of the most frequently seen symptoms include:

  • Night blindness
  • Cataracts
  • Issues seeing properly in bright light
  • Loss of central (rather than peripheral) vision
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS)
  • Canine obesity

Causes of retinal degeneration in dogs

Closeup of a dog with view problems having a dog control in veterinary office
(Picture Credit: razyph / Getty Images)

There are a number of causes of retinal degeneration in dogs. Some of the most common causes of the condition include:

  • Genetic factors
  • Abnormal development of the retina
  • Glaucoma
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Infections
  • Vitamin A and E deficiency
  • Metabolic issues

Additionally, the following breeds of dog seem to be most predisposed to developing the condition:

Treatments for retinal degeneration in dogs

If you suspect that your dog is developing retinal degeneration, then your veterinarian will want to carry out a physical examination of your dog. They will also want to ask about their medical history and any recent incidents that might have prompted the condition.

The vet will then carry out blood and urine tests. They’ll also place focus on examining your dog’s eyes, which will include looking for any abnormal signs in the retina.

Unfortunately, there is no real cure for this condition. Medicines have not proved helpful.

However, in some cases, altering your dog’s diet to address any nutritional deficiencies can help manage the condition, and switching to a low-fat diet can often bring about positive results.

In general, dogs diagnosed with this condition will need to benefit from a living space that takes into account any loss of vision. Your vet can help advise you further on specific steps to take, including blocking off dangerous areas and maintaining a consistent environment.

Fortunately, the condition does not cause pain in dogs, even when it causes blindness. Dogs who lose their vision can also live normal, healthy lives with proper care.

Keep up with regular vet visits so your vet can monitor your dog’s condition and watch for signs of other eye issues, such as glaucoma, cataracts, or uveitis.


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