Collie eye anomaly syndrome

This disease was originally described in Collies, but also affects Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and some other breeds. The disease attacks the choroid that nourishes the retina. Eye abnormalities include retinal degeneration and retinal detachment – both of which cause loss of vision.

Collie eye can be detected by a veterinary ophthalmologist in puppies as young as 4 to 8 weeks of age, after the bluish puppy film disappears from the eye. The retina is graded 1 to 5, depending on the degree of degeneration. Grades 1 and 2 do not affect eyesight; grades 3, 4, and 5 are associated with increasing visual impairment. The grade does not change as the dog grows older, but retinal detachment with sudden blindness can occur at any time. There is no treatment.

Prevention: The inheritance of Collie eye anomaly has been investigated in the breed and found to be a simple recessive genetic trait. Genetic tests from OptiGen are now available for Collie eye anomaly in many of the affected breeds.