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Causes and Prevention of Retinal Detachment in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Retinal Detachment

Causes of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment can be caused by several things. It can be a primary hereditary disorder, which usually is inherited through autosomal recessive genetic expression, but sometimes is inherited through incomplete dominant inheritance. The genetics of inheritance of this condition are beyond the scope of this article. Retinal detachment can also be secondary to an acquired intraocular (inside of the eye) abnormality. In dogs, severe retinal detachment is often congenital, which means that it is present at birth. Collies can develop a condition called collie eye anomaly, in which retinal detachment is present in up to 10% of affected animals. Older dogs can develop acquired retinal detachment as a result of systemic high blood pressure (hypertension) or other age-related conditions that develop over time. Acquired detached retinas can also be associated with trauma to the eyes, inflammation, infection, glaucoma, cataracts, cancer/tumors, intraocular bleeding disorders, ocular (eye) surgery and simply old age.


Hereditary retinal detachment can best be prevented by not breeding affected animals or animals that are carriers of the abnormal gene. Veterinary eye specialists can screen dogs that owners are considering using for breeding and can register the results of that screening through the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF). This process can help responsible, reputable breeders to remove dogs with hereditary forms of retinal detachment from the purebred breeding population.

Special Notes

Irreversible retinal degeneration can happen quickly after retinal detachment. This makes prompt diagnosis and treatment by a veterinary eye specialist extremely important in dogs with impaired vision.

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