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Vet Ophthalmol. 2017 Sep;20(5):450-459. doi: 10.1111/vop.12448. Epub 2016 Nov 29.

Characterization of a novel form of progressive retinal atrophy in Whippet dogs: a clinical, electroretinographic, and breeding study.

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Veterinary Medicine Department, Comparative Ophthalmology Laboratory, Rua dos Funcionários, 1540, Curtiba, 80035-050, Brazil.
Universidade Federal do Parana, R. Padre Camargo, 280, Curtiba, 80060-240, Brazil.
Ophthalmology Service, Centro Integrado de Especialidades Veterinárias, Rua André Zanetti, 144, Curtiba, 808010-280, Brazil.
Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, 736 Wilson Road D-208, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA.



To describe a form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Whippets including clinical, electroretinographic, optical coherence tomographic changes and pedigree analysis.


Client-owned Whippet dogs (n = 51) living in Brazil.


All animals were submitted for routine ophthalmic screening for presumed inherited ocular disease, which included the following: visual tests, such as obstacle course tests, in scotopic and photopic conditions, cotton ball test, dazzle reflex, ocular fundus evaluation by indirect ophthalmoscopy followed by fundus photography. Additionally, electroretinography (ERG) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) were performed in 24 and four dogs, respectively.


Sixteen dogs were diagnosed with PRA. Vision deficits in dim light were detected in dogs examined at a young age associated with nystagmus. Funduscopic changes included the development of multifocal retinal bullae from 6 months of age. Retinal thinning became apparent later, at which time the bullae were no longer detected. OCT examination of selected young dogs revealed that the retinal bullae were due to separation between photoreceptors and the retinal pigment epithelium, and of dogs with more advanced disease confirmed the development of retinal thinning. Electroretinography in young dogs revealed a negative ERG due to a lack of b-wave in both scotopic and photopic recordings. With progression, the ERG became unrecordable. Pedigree analysis suggested an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.


The retinal dystrophy reported here in Whippet dogs has a unique phenotype of an initial lack of ERG b-wave, development of retinal bullae then a progressive generalized retinal degeneration.


progressive retinal atrophy ; Whippet; electroretinography; optical coherence tomography; retina

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