Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

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Eye Exams


With all the DNA tests for eye diseases, is it really necessary to have eye checks when you’ve DNA tested?

Yes.   There are a variety of eye diseases that, while not common in Aussies, still occur from time to time and you should be checking because of those.  Even if you have done the cataract test not all cataracts are HSF4 and if your dog has even one copy of the mutation it is at increased risk for having cataracts.  If that starts to happen, you need to know.

How often should I get eye exams on my dogs?

Every puppy should have an exam before it leaves for its  new home, preferably between 5 and 6 weeks.  Adult dogs used for breeding should have an exam within the year prior to any breeding.

Are puppy eye exams really necessary?

Aussies are one of the breeds that should be routinely checked as young puppies.  Aussies can have Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA,) iris coloboma and persistent pupilary membrane (PPM), all of which are present from birth and can be identified in the puppy exam.  Occasionally a puppy will have distichiasis.  All Aussie puppies, even those who are going into non-breeding homes, need to be checked young.  If you wait, the development of pigment in the back of the eye can make detection of CEA impossible.