What is Progressive Retinal Atrophy Rod-cone Dysplasia 3 (PRA-RCD3)?
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Rod-Cone Dysplasia 3 is an inherited eye disease affecting dogs. PRA-rcd3 is an early onset disease that affects cells that transmit visual information in the retina. This disease progressively results in loss of vision.
Starting around 4 weeks of age affected dogs have abnormal thinning and degeneration of the retina. Signs of progressive retinal atrophy including changes in reflectivity and appearance of a structure behind the retina called Tapetum.
Early signs will be a loss of peripheral vision and night vision. As the disease progresses additional cells degenerate resulting in complete blindness. Most affected dogs are blind by 1 year of age. Others may retain limited sight until around 3 or 4 years of age.
What Causes Progressive Retinal Atrophy Rod-cone Dysplasia 3 (PRA-RCD3)?
Pembroke Welsh Corgis along with other dog breeds are susceptible to this disease. PRA-RCD3 is an inherited disease resulting from 2 mutated PDE6A genes, 1 from each parent. If the corgi's parents both passed on a mutated PDE6A gene then the corgi will be at risk for the disease.
Two inherited mutations of the PRA-RCD3 gene associated with Progressive Retinal Atrophy Rod-cone Dysplasia 3 from the corgi's parents will put your dog At Risk for PRA-RCD3.
There are 3 test results for PRA-RCD3:
Clear - A (Normal)
Carrier - B (Carrier)
At Risk - C (At Risk)
If your corgi is Normal or a Carrier then your dog should not be at risk to suffer from this specific genetic disease as both genetic mutations must be passed on for your dog to have PRA-RCD3.
There may be other causes of this condition in corgis. A normal result does not exclude a similar genetic disease.
How is Progressive Retinal Atrophy Rod-cone Dysplasia 3 (PRA-RCD3) Diagnosed?
Genetic testing of the corgi for a pair of mutated PDE6A genes and or an eye exam from a veterinarian. The eye exam should be done around 6 to 16 weeks of age for observable irregularities to appear.
Breeding out Progressive Retinal Atrophy Rod-cone Dysplasia 3 (PRA-RCD3)
As breeders and corgi owners it's our responsibility to genetically test for diseases that affect Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Not only to loosen the grip that Progressive Retinal Atrophy Rod-cone Dysplasia 3 has on the breed, but to improve genetic diversity.
There are multiple genetic factors to consider when breeding. We cannot simply test and breed solely on PRA-RCD3 status. We must not pigeon-hole the genetic makeup of the breed. In doing so we will do more harm than good.
Getting a corgi from a responsible breeder will improve you and your corgi's chances of never experiencing a preventable disease.
What Can You Do?
Find a breeder who tests their corgis for diseases like Progressive Retinal Atrophy Rod-cone Dysplasia 3 (PRA-RCD3), ask what other testing is being done, ask them to see the test results. You must advocate for your future puppy.