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Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA-prcd


Genetic Testing...

Ichthyosis is an autosomal recessive genetic mutation that affects the skin of Golden Retrievers. The mutation prevents the outer layer of the epidermis from forming properly, resulting in skin that becomes darkened and thick and flakes excessively. The name is derived from the Greek word for "Fish" due to the fish-like scales that are observed on dogs with the disease. Puppies affected with Ichthyosis develop white flakes on the skin soon after birth. The flaking persists through out the animals life, progressively becoming larger and darkening, becoming dry and rough with age, this disease typically does not cause any itching. On badly affected Golden Retrievers, secondary infection complications caused through bacterial, fungal or parasitic is associated with the condition.


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PRA affects many different dog breeds, and these mutations are breed-specific. In Golden Retrievers, two mutations have been identified in addition to prcd-PRA known as GR-PRA1 and GR-PRA2.

DNA testing is important to ensure that two carriers are not mated together, as carriers of the GR-PRA mutations are asymptomatic. It is generally not recommended to remove carriers from a breeding program to maintain genetic diversity within the breed.

​The retina is a membrane located in the back of the eye that contains two types of photoreceptor cells. These cells take light coming into the eyes and relay it back to the brain as electrical impulses. These impulses are interpreted by the brain to "create" images. In dogs suffering from PRA-prcd, the photoreceptors begin to degenerate, causing an inability to interpret changes in light. This results in a loss of vision. Rod cells, which normally function in low-light or nighttime conditions, begin to degenerate first. This leads to night-blindness. The cone cells, which normally function in bright-light or daytime conditions, will deteriorate next. This often leads to complete blindness over a period of time.

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Until recently Breeders in the US did not know what caused the flaking in certain puppies. Veterinarians were of the belief the flaking was caused through allergies, poor diet or hormones, as they had never heard of Ichthyosis.

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Litters bred out of a Carrier or Affected Bitch to a Clear Dog, Puppies will be DNA Tested and a Certificate produced stating their status for their Puppy Health Information folders. As each litter of breeding progresses this disease will be bred out of our lines without loosing any of the gene pool, we will still look for the best of everything we need to consider in a Golden before considering a Clear over a Carrier.

Golden Retriever PRA GR-PRA1 & GR-PRA2


What is new is the DNA Test now available to Breeders to use as a tool in controlling this disease and slowly breed it out. This disease occurs in many breeds of dogs and is also a common condition in humans.

Both GR-PRA1 and GR-PRA2 are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. This means that a dog must inherit a copy of the mutation from each parent to be affected by the disorder. Dogs with one copy of the mutation will not show any signs or symptoms of PRA, however, they can still pass on that mutation to any offspring.

OptiGen®, LLC - Cornell Business & Technology Park - 767 Warren Road, Suite 300 - Ithaca, New York 14850  http://www.optigen.com/opt9_ichthyosis_gr.html
Paw Print Genetics 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd. Suite 200 Spokane, WA 99202  https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/
Animal Genetics 1336 Timberlane Rd., Tallahassee, FL 32312-1766 USA  http://www.animalgenetics.us/Canine/Canine_Index.asp

Golden Retriever Index Panel Testings:  

PRA-prcd, GR-PRA1, GR-PRA2, Ich, DM, MD, NCL-GR 

​​Treatments usually rely on increased hygiene measures with frequent brushing and Kerato-regulating Shampoos, weekly emollients and providing a fatty acid-enriched diet. 

To date there is no specific or effective treatment for Ichthyosis currently available.
Ichthyosis is not a new disease but a condition that has been with us for many years, it is a common inherited dermatosis observed in Golden Retrievers World wide.

Ichthyosis is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, a Golden Retriever must inherit 2 (one from each parent) defective copies of the mutated gene, to be affected by the disease. By having a simple autosomal recessive mode of inheritance, and by using careful selection, Ichthyosis is not difficult to breed out. We have DNA Tested our Goldens and their status has been added under their litter profiles on this website, all our puppies bred will be either Clear or Carriers.

Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration, or PRA-prcd, is a form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in which the cells in the dog's retina degenerate and die. PRA for dogs is similar to retinitis pigmentosa in humans. Most affected dogs will not show signs of vision loss until 3-5 years of age. Complete blindness can occur in older dogs. Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration is a form of PRA known to affect over 40 different breeds.

What is Ichthyosis:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a category of genetic mutations that cause vision loss and blindness. Photoreceptor cells in the retina begin to degenerate, typically progressing from a loss of night vision to complete blindness.

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 PRA-prcd is inherited as an autosomal recessive disorder. A dog must have two copies of the mutated gene to be affected by PRA. A dog can have one copy of the mutation and not experience any symptoms of the disease. Dogs with one copy of the mutation are known as carriers, meaning that they can pass on the mutation to their offspring. If they breed with another carrier, there is a 25% chance that the offspring can inherit one copy of the mutated gene from each parent, and be affected by the disease.

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