Issue Description An eye disease affecting the retina of animals
and, less commonly, humans. It is usually a nonprogressive disease and
can be caused by viral infections, drugs, vitamin A deficiency, or
genetic defects. Retinal dysplasia is characterized by folds or
rosettes (round clumps) of the retinal tissue. Other Names RD
Causes Most cases of retinal dysplasia in dogs are
hereditary. It can involve one or both retinas. Retinal dysplasia can
be focal, multifocal, geographic, or accompanied by retinal
detachment. Focal and multifocal retinal dysplasia appears as streaks
and dots in the central retina. Geographic retinal dysplasia appears
as an irregular or horseshoe-shaped area of mixed hyper or
hyporeflectivity in the central retina. Retinal detachment occurs with
complete retinal dysplasia, and is accompanied by blindness in that
eye. Cataracts or glaucoma can also occur secondary to retinal
dysplasia. Other causes of retinal dysplasia in dogs include infection
with canine adenovirus or canine herpesvirus, or radiation of the eye
Commonly Affected Breeds
Bedlington Terrier - complete retinal
Sealyham Terrier - complete retinal dysplasia.
Rottweiler - focal or multifocal.
English Springer Spaniel - focal, multifocal, or geographic.
American Cocker Spaniel - focal or multifocal.
Beagle - focal or multifocal.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - retinal folds, geographic, or
Labrador Retriever - focal, multifocal, geographic, or complete
retinal dysplasia. It can also be seen in combination with a
congenital skeletal disorder.
Australian Shepherd - retinal dysplasia occurs with other eye
disorders, such as an oval pupil, microcornea (small cornea),
cataracts, and retinal detachment.
Symptoms Some dogs have no symptoms and can only be
identified with an ophthalmic examination. More severely affected
puppies may be partially or totally blind.
Diagnosis Diagnosis is confirmed by examination of the
retina with an ophthalmoscope which may reveal:
Patchy abnormal discolourations
Folds in the retina
Ridges in the retina
Detachment of the retina - focal or complete
These changes may not be obvious until the puppy is 6 months of age.
Two forms of the disease are recognized in dogs:
Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia
o Folds of the retina - appear like grey streaks
o Rosettes of abnormal colouration on the retina - appear like grey
o Increased reflectivity of the tapetal (coloured area) of the retina.
Total Retinal Dysplasia
o Non-attachment or complete detachment of the retina
o Intraocular haemorrhage may be present
o Leukocoria - white appearance (like a cataract) due to the detached
retina appearing behind the lens
o Microphthalmos (a small eye) may be present
o Nystagmus (uncontrolled rhythmic movements of the eye) may be
Treatment Laser surgery has been useful in mild to
moderately affected dogs to help stabilize the retina and prevent
detachments. In severe cases involving glaucoma, affected eyes may
require surgical removal to relieve pain.