Coton de Tulear and eye problems: understanding progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Owner's question

"Hi, my Coton de Tulear dog, called Daisy, is finding it harder and harder to see at night and is walking more and more cautiously, as if she can't see things very well. I have heard that this breed is prone to eye problems. What do you know about that?"

Veterinarian's answer

"Hi! First of all, it's very important that you noticed a change in Daisy's vision, and this is a cause for concern. The Coton de Tulear breed is indeed predisposed to certain eye problems, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which is a hereditary disease and can gradually deteriorate vision, eventually causing total blindness.

PRA involves the progressive loss of retinal cells, particularly rod-shaped cells, which are responsible for vision in low-light conditions. This may explain why Daisy seems to have difficulty seeing at night. As the disease progresses, other retinal cells may also become affected, leading to daytime blindness.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PRA and treatment is usually focused on improving the dog's quality of life.

Some dogs adapt well to reduced vision, while others need help with everyday activities such as walking.

In some cases, antioxidant supplements such as vitamin A and beta-carotene can help slow the progression of the disease, but be sure to discuss this with your vet.

If Daisy is diagnosed with PRA, it's very important to have her eyes checked regularly by your vet, as PRA also increases the risk of cataracts and other eye problems!

The best way to prevent PRA is through responsible breeding, which includes screening potential parents for PRA. If you plan to buy a Coton de Tulear dog, always check that the breeder has screened the dog's parents for this disease!

>>  Estrela Mountain Dogs and Hypothyroidism: the Invisible Trouble

I hope this has helped you understand the situation. Please consult a vet for further examination and treatment of Daisy."