Progressive Retinal Atrophy (English Shepherd Type)

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Find out if your English Shepherd could develop Progressive retinal atrophy (English Shepherd Type) at CAGT.

Categories ,
Turnaround 1-2 weeks
OMIA No entry


Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is the most common form of inherited disease affecting the retina in dogs. Genetically different forms of PRA, caused by mutations in different genes, affect many breeds of dog with each form usually affecting one or a small number of breeds. PRA is characterised by progressive degeneration of the retina at the back of the eye and leads to vision loss and blindness.

A form of PRA has been identified in English Shepherds. Age of onset is around 4 to 5 years old and clinical signs of disease onset are the dog having difficulty seeing at night in the first instance, which will progress to limited vision in the day to total blindness.

Autosomal Recessive

The SINE insertion in the gene called FAM161A that causes Progressive retinal atrophy (English Shepherd Type) in English Shepherd is autosomal recessive. This means that dogs that carry two copies of the mutation (homozygotes) will almost certainly develop Progressive retinal atrophy during their lives. Dogs that carry a single copy of the mutation (also known as carriers or heterozygotes) will not develop Progressive retinal atrophy as a result of the FAM161A mutation, but they will pass the mutation onto about half of any offspring they have. Breeding dogs that will not develop Progressive retinal atrophy should be the breeder’s priority, with a reduction in mutation frequency within the whole breed being the secondary, longer-term target.

Carriers can be bred from safely, provided they are mated to a dog that has also been tested and is clear of the FAM161A mutation (i.e. carry no copies of the mutation). If a carrier is mated to a clear dog approximately half of the resulting puppies will also be carriers, so should be tested themselves prior to breeding. Breeding carriers to tested, clear dogs is safe, in terms of avoiding dogs affected with Progressive retinal atrophy (English Shepherd Type), and will help to maintain the genetic diversity of a breed. It is therefore encouraged, particularly in the first few generations following the availability of a new genetic test, so that other desirable characteristics and traits can be preserved before the frequency of the disease mutation within the breed is gradually reduced.

Gene TBC
Variant TBC
Assay Type Variant Specific
Inheritance Autosomal Recessive
Severity Low-Moderate: Affected animals experience discomfort or dysfunction of some kind, but life expectancy is not affected.

Manuscript in preparation