PRA: The Hidden Monster

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic, degenerative retinal disease that leads to blindness. Sadly enough, it is being discovered in Shetland Sheepdogs in Scandinavia and with every PRA-affected Sheltie many carriers surround it.

You see, in the Sheltie and most every other breed studied, PRA is a non-linked, recessive disorder. The recessive PRA gene is a "hidden monster." It can hibernate for generations. But when paired with a recessive PRA gene from another dog, it comes out of hiding and effects some, if not all of the puppies in that litter. Unfortunately, a Sheltie may be old enough to breed before a veterinary ophthalmologist can detect the disease. And so PRA is passed on to more Shelties. PRA is a GENETIC DISEASE and THERE IS NO CURE.

But for Shetland Sheepdog there is a possibility for research, tell
Dr. Simon Petersen-Jones Assistant Professor, Comparative Ophthalmology Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences Michigan State University. His group developed the first DNA test for PRA. This was in the Irish setter breed. They have also identified the cause of PRA in the Cardigan Welsh corgi and developed a DNA-based test for that form of PRA which has enabled breeders to ensure that no more affected dogs are produced. The test also allows the use of carrier dogs in breeding, this saving the good features from such dogs while ensuring that PRA does not occur.

As matters now stand there has to be gathering funds for this research. As you can se of this
letter about the subject, it costs a lot of money.

We need your help for the betterment of the Sheltie breed!

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