What is hereditary cataract?
Cataract is a common cause of blindness in dogs. The condition is the same in people - over time the lens in the eye begins to cloud over until the world becomes blurred and vision is lost.
In dogs, hereditary cataract is an inherited condition passed down from parents to puppies. Some dogs are born with hereditary cataract…
Researching hereditary cataract
Hereditary cataract is complex – we believe it is likely that variants in several genes, acting independently or together, could influence whether a certain dog, or breed, develops it. Because of this, our research is trying to understand what causes the disease so we can do two things: aid prevention and improve treatment.
We don’t know why some breeds are more susceptible than others, but to learn more we are focussing our research on breeds that we know are regularly affected. These include Labrador Retrievers, Irish Red and White Setters, Australian Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes, Icelandic Sheepdogs and Norwegian Buhunds, as well as Miniature Schnauzers who are sometimes born with hereditary cataract.
4 DNA tests for hereditary cataract developed at the AHT
48 minimum number of dogs of one breed affected by hereditary cataract needed to help our research
Help our research into hereditary cataract
In order to learn more and develop new DNA tests, we need help from owners and breeders of:
- any dogs affected by any bilateral cataract
- any dog, over six years of age, confirmed clear of cataracts by a veterinary ophthalmologist
We cannot develop DNA tests to help more dogs without your help! You can help by requesting a cheek swab collection kit to gather DNA from your dog which you simply send back to us in the post!
We have already successfully created DNA tests for hereditary cataract in a number of breeds including Australian Shepherds, French Bulldogs and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
These can be purchased from www.ahtdnatesting.co.uk
We are very grateful to the following for their ongoing support of this work:
The Kennel Club Charitable Trust,
various Breed Clubs and individuals.