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Collie Eye Anomaly

collie eye anomaly

When it comes to our canine friends, we want the best for them and their health and well-being is important. Of course, vision is one of the more important areas that needs to be monitored; especially if there is a known genetic defect that can cause partial or full blindness.

There are various eye conditions that can affect a dog and one of them that is prevalent in certain breeds is known as Collie Eye Anomaly. Here is more about this condition – what it is, how it affects a dog’s eyes, how it is diagnosed, and treatment methods, if any. We will also go over what you can do as a pet owner.

What is Collie Eye Anomaly?

Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is a condition that affects the eyes. According to Pet Health Network:

The eye is a complicated thing. In order to absorb light and receive an adequate blood supply, the eye needs help from the choroid, a collection of blood vessels within a layer of tissue located under the retina.

When this part of the eye doesn’t develop the right way in dogs, it can lead to Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) – a genetic disease that affects Collies as well as other dog breeds. Also known as Choroidal Hypoplasia, this condition can lead to vision loss.

This is a condition found more prevalent in certain breeds that include herding dogs and Collies. It is mostly found in the following:

How Does Collie Eye Anomaly Affect a Dog’s Eyes?

There are various effects that CEA causes to a dog’s eyes.

  • Microphthalmia. This is where the eye is smaller than it should be and is visibly noticeable
  • Retinal Folds. This is where there is not a proper formation between the two layers of the retina
  • Enophthalmia. In this symptom, the eyeballs of the dog appear to be sunken
  • Anterior Corneal Stromal Mineralization. In this symptom, there will be a cloudy look to the dog’s eyes that is due to the connective tissue being mineralized. This connective tissue is what you see as a transparent coating on the eyeball
  • Coloboma. In this effect, the structures of the eyeball may have a hole
  • Detached Retina. This is an effect that sometimes happens as well.

Of course, the final symptom is a loss of vision. While the listed symptoms may be visible, some dogs do not have any symptoms at all and will lose their vision before it is known that they have Collie Eye Anomaly.

The good news is that if a dog is diagnosed, as long as it does not have the hole in the eye with the coloboma, the condition should not get worse. Even with the coloboma, sometimes the hole is small enough that it doesn’t hurt the dog’s vision. In other cases, the hole may be larger and does cause blindness – either partial or full.

How is it Diagnosed?

The vet has to examine the dog’s eyes to see any abnormalities that may be diagnosed as CEA. The problem is that this is a condition that cannot be reversed once it has started. There are a few things that can be done to stave off the final effects. For instance, there is laser surgery for coloboma and surgery that can help with a detached retina. There is no cure for the Collie Eye Anomaly once a dog gets it.

What Causes Collie Eye Anomaly?

As stated on PetMD:

The cause of collie eye anomaly is a defect in chromosome 37. It only occurs in animals that have a parent, or parents, that carry the genetic mutation. The parents may not be affected by the mutation, and may therefore not have been diagnosed with the abnormality, but offspring can be affected, especially when both parents carry the mutation. It is also suspected that other genes may be involved, which would explain why the disorder is severe in some collies and so mild that it causes no symptoms in another.

What Can You Do?

While there is no cure for this eye condition, there is testing that can be done in puppies. It is important that a vet look at your dog’s eyes within his first five to eight weeks of age. Of course, parents with the gene should not be used for breeding purposes. It is a developmental disease that is genetic-based so the CEA test is important. This can be done in parents of these particular breeds in order to rule out the genetic anomaly.

If your dog is already experiencing vision issues, there are tests that can rule out CEA and these include:

  • X-rays to find abnormalities in the abdomen and chest
  • Chemistry tests to look for issues with sugar levels, kidneys, liver, and pancreas
  • Infectious disease screenings
  • Measuring blood pressure
  • A complete blood count
  • Electrolyte imbalance tests

If your dog does lose its vision, most dogs adapt very well to their new situation after they have some time to adjust. Making sure your dog has good veterinary care and care at home is crucial. With the cost of veterinary visits and testing, pet insurance quotes help you find insurance that help defray some of the costs involved and gives you peace of mind that if your dog needs some kind of treatment, it won’t hurt your wallet as much as not having a backup plan.


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