Many times when people look up information on the Australian shepherd, it is then that they realize that they are prone to having multiple different eye diseases or problems.Cataracts - this is when their eyes start forming small opacities and may end up clouding over the entire eye, which reduces vision and brings on possible blindness. (Cataracts is the most common eye disease in Australian shepherds)
Most often when people get an Australian shepherd, not many people know that the Australian shepherds are prone to having an eye disease. However, most of the eye diseases that the dogs get are genetic diseases, which means there is no way of preventing them. In fact, eye diseases are the most common problems amongst Australian shepherds, especially to those that are merle Australian shepherds.
There are in fact many different types of diseases that Australian shepherds are known for getting; however, some of the most common ones that are known about are:
CEA (collie eye anomaly) - this is a recessive gene mutation that affects the eyes. Some of the defects are eye dysplasia and retinal separation. However, in order for a dog to get CEA both the mother and father must be carriers.
Colobomas - this is when there is a missing section of the iris. A large colobomas may cause the iris to not dilate and contract properly, being very painful in light for the dog.
Detached Retinas - this is when the retinas start separating from the eye. Many times it will be caused by having too many blows to the head.
PPA (persistent pupilary membrane) - this is when there is a fetal structure on the pupil prior to birth. Most often it will go away shortly after birth; however, sometimes it will persist. It may not be bad enough where it causes significant visual defects but in many cases it will attach to the lens or the cornea of the dog, causing possible blindness. If it does not go away after a year, then it is a hereditary disease.
Distichiasis - this is an eye defect in which abnormal eyelashes grow inward towards the cornea rather than away from it like it should. Many times the lashes will be soft causing no problems; however, in other times they are stiff causing scratches to the cornea.
Distichiasis is an inherited disease which may come at any age for the dog. In many cases it may become too painful for the dog where it will be surgically fixed.
Just because a dog may be prone to having an eye disease later on in its life does not mean that you should not get it. In fact, most dogs that do get/have an eye disease are able to live a full and happy life with minimal difficulties.
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