Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
The lens of the eye normally lies immediately behind the iris and the pupil, and is suspended in place by a series of fibers, called zonular ligaments. It functions to focus light rays on the retina, in the back of the eye. When partial or complete breakdown of the zonular ligaments occurs, the lens may become partially dislocated (Lens Subluxation) or fully dislocated (Lens Luxation) from the lens’ normal position. Lens Luxation can lead to inflammation (Uveitis) and Glaucoma (increased intraocular pressure). This can result in painful, teary, red eyes that may look hazy or cloudy. Both Uveitis and Glaucoma are painful and potentially blinding diseases if not identified and treated early. PLL testing requires a DNA sample.
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Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
The cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for coordinating movements. Ataxia comes from a Greek term meaning “without order”. When the cerebellum cannot coordinate movement, the dog can move, but the movement is poorly coordinated. They are not weak, in fact, often the movements a dog with ataxia makes are too strong. They have a goose-stepping gait and when excited or running, their legs may appear to be going every which-way. Sometimes they have problems with their balance and will fall frequently. SCA testing requires a DNA sample.
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Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. This can first occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk. Tests results are: Normal, Carrier and At Risk. DM testing requires a DNA sample.
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Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a condition of the retina in the eye and encompasses many diseases which all progress over time and eventually lead to blindness. The retina works in the eye much as the film in a camera works. It changes the light it receives into images which are then sent down the optic nerve to be interpreted by the brain. When a dog has PRA the retina either stops developing prematurely or the light receptors degenerate early in life. With this condition both eyes are equally affected. The different forms of PRA vary in the age at which they first develop and in the rate at which they progress. Cases can be early onset with rapid progression to late onset with slow progression or any combination of the sorts. Every case is different and definite age of onset or how quickly progression will occur can never be known for sure.
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