The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a relatively healthy breed, though as usual the breed is not without its typical health issues. These dogs suffer from a series of eye problems that, though not frequently recorded in the breed, do show up from time to time and can cause serious, lasting damage, depending on the severity of the condition. The Cardigan is prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), like many dogs, as well as lens luxation and retinal dysplasia. If you suspect any of these conditions, you should immediately take your dog to the veterinarian, who may suggest you see a veterinarian ophthalmologist.
The eye is made up of very delicate structures, which must be free of impediments in order to function properly. Even the slightest abnormality or dysfunction could spell disaster for a dog's visual capabilities. One of the conditions seen in Cardigan Welsh Corgis that could lead to vision problems is retinal dysplasia, which occurs when the retina of the dog's eye develops abnormally. The retina is the layer normally found at the very back of the eye, consisting of light-sensitive cells on which light stimuli are focused and which in turn transmit the information about light to the brain. An abnormality in the development in the retina could interfere with this process.
There are three general forms of retinal dysplasia: in the first form, there is the folding of certain retinal areas, in the second form, called geographic retinal dysplasia, there are a number of areas where the retina becomes thinned, folded and disorganized, while in the third form, called detached retinal dsyplasia, the retina is severely disorganized and becomes detached from the rear of the eye. The first form is the mildest, whereas the second and third are more severe and could lead to some level of blindness. There is no treatment for retinal dysplasia.
As mentioned, retinal dysplasia is not the only eye condition from which Cardigan Welsh Corgis suffer. Along with many other dogs, they may also develop Progressive Retinal Atrophy. In this condition, there is a degeneration of the actual cells that make up the retina and this degeneration almost always leads to permanent blindness. There are two broad categories of PRA, one called Generalized PRA and the other called Central PRA; the two categories are based on where exactly the deterioration of the cells is found.
Central PRA develops a bit more slowly than the generalized form and dogs who suffer from Central PRA may not become blind. Unfortunately, Cardigans usually suffer from Generalized PRA. Another Cardigan eye condition is lens luxation. The lens is the structure that is responsible for focusing light onto the retina and must be suspended between the iris and the retina to perform its job. In lens luxation, the lens is positioned abnormally; this could eventually lead to glaucoma, or even blindness. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and could range from eyedrops to emergency surgery.