Progressive Retinal Atrophy, (also known as "PRA") is a group of inherited diseases that cause degeneration of the retina in dogs and results in permanent blindness. The retina is a thin layer of nervous tissue that lies in the back of the eye and is reponsible for converting light into electrical impulses. The electrical impulse is then transmitted along the optic nerve to the brain, where the electrical impulses are interpretted as an image. The cells within the retina that are directly responsible for the conversion of light to an electrical impulse are called photoreceptors. There are two types of photoreceptors: rods and cones. The rod rods are responsible for dim light vision, and the cones are responsible for bright light and color vision. Progressive Retinal Atrophy begins with degeneration of the rod photoreceptors. This may be noticed by pet owners as night blindness or decreased "confidence" in dimly lit areas. As the degeneration of rods progresses, the cones will begin to degnerate. Therefore,loss of vision in brightly lit environments will occur later in the progression of the disease. As PRA progresses slowly, many dogs will learn to partially accomodate for their visual deficits through their senses of hearing and smell. Because of this accommodation, it is not uncommon for some pet owners notice the visual deficits only after significant degneration of both rods and cones has occured.
**So now that you know what PRA is you are probably wondering why the heck I don't test for it. Mainly because the test is flawed. There have been affected dogs that have been retested and shown to be normal. There have been dogs whose sample was sent in under different names and gotten different results. If there are so many affected dogs out there why don't we ever see the dogs with the symptoms. AHT's answer is because those dogs die of old age before they ever even produce symptoms.
**Update 3/14/13 ~ At last a laboratory that is confirming that the test does not diagnose PRA. Cord1 PRA test is not recommended for the diagnostic of cord1 PRA because a recent study found that the mutation is not solely responsible for early-onset cone-rod dystrophy, and that there is another unidentified mutation involved in the development of cord1 PRA. http://www.laboklin.co.uk/laboklin/showGeneticTest.jsp?testID=8099DGC
CERF ~ CERF is a painless eye exam done by a certified canine opthamologists that checks the dogs eyelids, cornea, iris, lens, and more for disease. We use this test to ensure we are not breeding any dachshunds with an eye disease. For more info check out this link ~ http://www.vmdb.org/history.html
Vaccine Reactions ~ Dachshunds are very prone to vaccine reactions. Whether it be Rabies, Distemper, Lepto, etc. And just because your dachshund didn't have a reaction before that does not mean he/she is out of the woods. It can happen at any time even with a vaccine they have had before. It can be as mild a reaction as hives or as major as their throat closing up and they can't breathe.
Some tips whether your doxie has had a reaction before or not:
Give your doxie benadryl at least an hour before the vet appointment. Dosage is 2mg per pound of body weight. Make sure to tell the vet this has been given.
After the vaccine wait in the waiting room of the vet for 15 minutes and look for signs. **Signs include ~ Shaking head, red ears, hives on belly, and/or itching head and face.
If signs aren't noticed until you get home you can dose your dog again with benadryl but my best advice to you is to just rush right back to the vet. They can offer much more relief much quicker. Benadryl will take awhile to take affect. **A reaction can happen with any vaccine! I can not stress this enough. Just because your dog hasn't had a reaction before doesn't mean they will never have a reaction**
My Meme has had a distemper vaccine before but I used a different brand than previously. Her ears turned bright red and her face and head blew up like a balloon. By the time I got her to the vet's 15 minutes later she couldn't see. Her eyes were swollen shut. I snapped a quick picture of her before I left for the vet but it does not do what it looked like justice.
Vaccinating our dogs every year is no longer the recommended protocol. It has been found to do more harm then good to overvaccinate. They are now finding that immunity lasts much longer then just a year with most vaccines. Here is a link to the new vaccination guidelines ~ http://www.weim.net/emberweims/Vaccine.html