cord1 Retinal Degeneration (PRA)

What is Retinal Degeneration?

The retina is the light-sensitive inner layer of the eye. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a general term for degeneration of the retina found in some breeds of dog (and in humans). Several breed-specific forms of retinal degeneration are caused by mutations in different genes.

The age at which deterioration in eyesight of affected dogs begins varies widely, from months to several years. The levels of visual impairment are also variable, with some affected dogs showing few problems even into old age.

Which varieties of Dachshund are affected?

Retinal degeneration was first documented in the Miniature Long-haired Dachshund (MLHD).

A DNA test was made available by the Animal Health Trust in 2005 that identifies a specific gene mutation known as cord-1 (for Cone-rod Dystrophy).  Read the AHT’s page here.

The identical mutation has been found in Miniature Smooth and Miniature Wire Dachshunds (MSHD/MWHD).  We now also know that a second mutation exists that affects the age of onset.  At the moment, there is no test for this second mutation.

Currently, the DNA test for the cord1 mutation only applies to MLHD, MSHD and MWHD.  You are strongly advised not to buy a Miniature Dachshund from a breeder who is not carrying out the cord1 DNA test before they breed from their dogs.

Research into retinal degeneration in the other varieties of Dachshund is underway in the UK, Scandinavia and the USA.  A test for a different form of Retinal Degeneration (crd) found in Wire-haired Dachshunds in Scandinavia is also now available from Laboklin (UK).

Read the Breed Council’s advice to breeders and puppy buyers: Dach-Facts PRA

Breeders: download the pictorial explanation of how to avoid matings that produce Miniature Dachshunds clinically at risk of cord1 Retinal Degeneration (PRA).

Read the research findings presented at the Breed Council Conference on 29th November 2009 and an update from the AHT in March 2011.

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