Yawning Dog Genetic Disorders Mixed BreedInherited eye disorders are common in many purebreds. Some disorders can be predicted with genetic testing, but others can only be diagnosed with health testing, which will tell you if the dog has the disorder at a specific point in time.

Knowing if your dog is at risk for genetic eye disorders is relatively easy for purebreds, since some diseases are well known to exist within certain breeds. However, it’s much harder to determine if a mixed breed dog is at risk of a genetic eye disorder, since most owners don’t know the exact breeds that make up their mixed breed dog.

Mixed breed Dog DNA tests now offer a quick, at home, way to determine the breeds that make up a a mixed breed dog. Once the breeds of a dog’s parents or grandparents are known, a vet can tell if a mixed breed is at risk for a genetic eye disorder.

The CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) does health and genetic testing for a number of eye-related disorders, including third eyelids, and corneal dystrophy. CERF has a registry for dogs that are certified free of heritable eye disease. Individual dog’s identities are confidential and are not released. CERF Certification is valid for 12 months from the date of the exam.
You can find more information on CERF’s website at: www.vmdb.org/cerf.html.

Eye disorders include:

  • Cataracts
  • Collie eye anomaly
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Dermoids
  • Ectropion
  • Entropion
  • Exposure keratopathy syndrome
  • Eyelash abnormalities – ectopic cilia, distichiasis, trichiasis
  • Glaucoma
  • Imperforate lacrimal punctum
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)
  • Lens luxation
  • Microphthalmia (ocular dysgenesis)
  • Optic nerve hypoplasia and micropapilla
  • Pannus (chronic superficial keratitis)
  • Persistent pupillary membranes
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Third eyelid (nictitating membrane) abnormalities

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes less transparent. Cataracts can result in blindness if untreated. Most cataracts are inherited, but can occur from trauma or exposure to toxins.

Inherited cataracts have been identified in the following breeds:

  • Afghan Hound
  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler)
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Basenji
  • Beagle
  • Bearded Collie
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Bichon Frise
  • Border Collie
  • Boston Terrier
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Chow Chow
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Collie
  • Curly-coated Retriever
  • Dachshund
  • Dalmatian
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • German Shepherd
  • German Short-haired Pointer
  • Golden Retriever
  • Gordon Setter
  • Great Dane
  • Havanese
  • Irish Setter
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Japanese Chin
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Lowchen
  • Mastiff
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Newfoundland
  • Norbottenspets
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Papillon
  • Pekingese
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Rottweiller
  • Saint Bernard
  • Samoyed
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Shar Pei
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Siberian Husky
  • Smooth Fox Terrier
  • Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Standard Poodle
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Whippet
  • Wire-haired Fox Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

The specific genes responsible for cataracts are not identified for most breeds. There is no genetic testing available for the disorder, but health screening can identify dogs that are likely to develop the disorder. Ask breeders of any breeds where inherited cataracts have been identified if any if their breeding dogs for several generations back have been screened for cataracts.

Corneal dystrophy
Corneal dystrophy is a disorder of the cornea that usually affects both eyes. Most commonly, it does not impact vision, and is not treated.

Corneal dystrophy can also be called endothelial corneal dystrophy, corneal lipid dystrophy, Boxer corneal ulceration, epithelial/stromal corneal dystrophy, indolent/persistent ulcer, or epithelial erosion.

Breeds affected with corneal dystrophy are:


  • Airedale
  • Afghan Hound
  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Basenji
  • Beagle
  • Bearded Collie
  • Bichon Frise
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Briard
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chihuahua
  • Chow Chow
  • Dachshund
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Rough Collie
  • Samoyed
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Siberian Husky
  • Vizsla

The specific genes responsible for corneal dystrophy are not identified for most breeds. There is no genetic testing available for the disorder, but health screening can identify dogs that currently have corneal dystrophy. You should ask breeders of any breeds where corneal dystrophy have been identified if any if their breeding dogs for several generations back have been screened.

Eyelash abnormalities
While normally not a serious disorder, these can be uncomfortable for the dog. Common eyelash disorders are: distichiasis (where extra eyelashes grow on the inside edge of the eyelid), ectopic cilia (where extra eyelashes grow through the eyelid to inside the eye), and trichiasis (where eyelashes turn inward).

Distichiasis is seen in the following breeds:

  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • English Bulldog
  • Boxer
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Collie
  • Curly-coated Retriever
  • Dachsund
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Field Spaniel
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • Flat-coated Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • German Short-haired Pointer
  • Golden Retriever
  • Great Dane
  • Irish Setter
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Lowchen
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Pekingese
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Pomeranian
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Pug
  • Samoyed
  • Saint Bernard
  • Shih Tzu
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Toy Poodle
  • Weimaraner
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Ectopic cilia is seen in the following breeds:

  • Bulldog
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Pekingese
  • Shih Tzu

Trichiasis is seen in American Cocker Spaniels.

It is not known how eyelash abnormalities are inherited, and there is no genetic testing available, although health screening can identify dogs with eyelash abnormalities. You can ask breeders if any if their breeding dogs have been screened for eyelash abnormalities. However, given that eyelash abnormalities are generally uncomfortable, rather than fatal or debilitating for the dog, you may even consider a dog with eyelash abnormalities in its pedigree.

Progressive renal atrophy
Progressive renal atrophy occurs when cells in the dog’s retina begin to die. It can cause blindness, and there is no treatment.
Specific genes that lead to progressive renal atrophy are quickly being identified in many breeds.

Related disorders include: rod-cone dysplasia, retinal degeneration, early retinal degeneration, central/generalized progressive retinal atrophy, progressive rod-cone degeneration, hemeralopia (day blindness), and nyctalopia (night-blindness).
Progressive renal atrophy is seen in the following breeds:

  • Akita
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Basenji
  • Beagle
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Border Collie
  • Briard
  • Brittany Spaniel
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Collie
  • Dachshund
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • German Shepherd
  • German Short-haired Pointer
  • Golden Retriever
  • Gordon Setter
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound
  • Irish Setter
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Papillon
  • Pekingese
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Rottweiler
  • Samoyed
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Siberian Husky
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Toy Poodle
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Genetic testing is becoming available for many different breeds. You should ask breeders of breeds where progressive renal atrophy has been identified if any if their breeding dogs, for several generations back, were screened for the disorder.

Retinal dysplasia

Retinal dysplasia occurs when the retina is abnormally developed at birth. It can result from a virus before birth, but is more commonly inherited. Some dogs develop limited vision loss or blindness. Many dogs with milder forms of retinal dysplasia may compensate so well by using their excellent senses of smell and hearing that their owners are never aware that they have retinal dysplasia! However, the disorder can be more serious in some dogs, and ultimately result in blindness.

Retinal dysplasia is seen in the following breeds:

  • Akita
  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Beagle
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Border Terrier
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Collie
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Field Spaniel
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Gordon Setter
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Rottweiler
  • Samoyed
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Yorkshire Terrier

In many breeds, retinal dysplasia is inherited. There is no genetic testing available, although health screening can identify dogs with the disorder. Ask breeders if any if their breeding dogs were screened, for several generations back, for retinal dysplasia.

Genetic Eye Disorders in Mixed Breed Dogs

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