Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic, degenerative retinal disease
that leads to blindness. Sadly enough, it is being discovered
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,
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!
about the PRA-project, you'll find here