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It is with sadness that we tell everyone that our Freddie (Konakela Red Admiral at Ixia) has Late Onset PRA - not to be confused with PRA (rcd 1 ) which is virtually eradicated in our breed

He was seen by our vet in late April who said it looked like a retinal atrophy. He then had a consultation with an eye specialist who agreed it was LOPRA. 

We then saw Ian Mason who although now retired still does his work for the KC, he confirmed the diagnosis. He tested Jen's eyes and said that they were healthy and he would have expected to see some degeneration if she was affected.

Just as I was about to publish a (similar) letter, we decided to ring Meg Webb, first in her capacity on SEISC but also because she had personal experience. Meg was very helpful and explained that a few other Irish had been diagnosed with LOPRA and a couple had been found to have PRA (rcd 4) which is usually found in elderly Gordon Setters. 

Freddie (aged 4) has been DNA  tested and diagnosed with PRA (rcd 4)

The reason we have not talked about this before is because the SEISC and the AHT asked us not to go public until they had a few answers, i.e. they will very soon allow Irish to be tested for PRA (rcd 4).

Pat Harris has been as helpful and supportive as she could possibly be.

We have been as honest as we can and hope for your support in this.

It has been a very upsetting time.

PS Freddie wonders what all the fuss is about, he says he's fine! 

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I too had a setter who went blind and like Viv says, you would never had known.  She carried on with life as if nothing had happened and lived until 6 weeks before her 15th birthday.  She never bumped into anything indoors or outside and was as playful and happy as she had always been. 

I was her eyes and she trusted me completely, as long as she knew I was close by, she was happy and relaxed.

I am so sorry to hear about him.........a big hug from us .. but how did you discovered this? is any early sign that people can look at? It should be barely impossible, i guess, to notice an increasing blindness in a dog living in a house, till is quite advanced :(  poor freddie !!!!!!!!!

Hi there Deb,

It was really nice talking to you all yesterday, As I said then, Jas was really quite blind at the end, and she had adapted so very well...(she would always go off into the Forest to do her 'toilet', and that would worry the life out of me, so concerned at getting her back if she couldn't 'find' her way back)

I for one will be there with my DNA test as soon as it is available from the AHT...and personally I think every one of us should be there getting our dogs done...we need to find out the status of our breeding/potential breeding stock ASAP....and then we can try and go forward and breed this devastating problem out of our beloved breed...

I was told once that is is not a painful problem so it isn't really that important...well tell that to the dogs and owners that are affected by this....they will tell you otherwise..not a physical thing, like Bloat or CLAD but so very distressing to all concerned...but some physical pain...when your beautiful high energy dog is bumping into everything before they have found out and memorised where everything is...

If you need anything please don't hesitate to ask, and if I can help at all you know that I will try....

Thanks all of you who have taken the trouble to write.

I do hope that being open about Freddie will help sort the problem out, the rcd 4 test is available from Aug 1st.

I believe all the other named dogs were found through random testing

I think your courage will guide many people to have the test done who mightn't have considered it without reading your story and that of others who have told of their lives with sight-disabled setters. Thank you very much and I wish you both well.

Sorry, my mistake, evidently it was two of the dogs that were found from random testing.

Thanks for all your comments 

Dee I know it seems distressing but YOUR mental attitude to the problem of visual impairment is what sets the pace for your dog. It takes a little thought at first but you can help the dog adapt very well. Seil was nine when he began to be reluctant to go out at night and was diagnosed affected LOPRA.

I read all that Wendy Smith had written and also spoke to RNIB about how they would advise a human going blind. Seil seldom bumps into things as the layout of my rooms remains identical, his bed has a lavender bag attached to it. Outside ny front door to the eft I have stone chips and to the right I have chipped bark and he knows (I watch him) when the surface changes how to find the door. He can walk off lead in areas he knows and I always carry lavender oil (spots on a hanky) in my pocket and he follows the smell. It tales a little more care but Seil has a happy life still, loves walks and is definitley not suffering. Dont get swamped in emotion

completley agree with what you say sue about the dogs adapting .layla as adapted fantastically and no one outside would have known about her blindness up until a few months ago.  she now  has cataracts which quite often happens as a secondary to this disease . it sad at anytime when an animal goes blind but its absolute heartbreaking when it happens in young dogs.


When you live with such a problem then your attitude is all that counts...like Lyn I have lived with it for a long time, Lyn more so than me...if you had ever met Jas you would never have known that she was almost totally bling she dissapered into the forest...scairing the life out of me...and she found her way back...the same way she went in...she did everything that a normal sighted dog did...but....you could never move anything and you had to do everything in the same place...ie food and water....water must never be moved...

She found it difficult going into dark places....going up stairs to bed was her problem...but so long as everything was the same every night then she coped very well...emotion....well it is difficult to just laugh it off when you know that your presious girl is going blind...as for not suffering...well I was told once that this is not a painful problem so wasn't really high on the agenda...try tell that to myself or Lyn or any of the others with young dogs that are now blind...no it doesn't hurt them..but it hurts us...watching them bumpinng into things and not being able to do 'all' the things that a seeing dog can do....

and sorry about the spelling mistakes before someone tells me about them....

sorry ossian but how do you not get swamped in emotion when you are told your dog is going blind at 2 and 1/2 .

i agree with what you say about them getting vibes from owners.i was desperatley unhappy and i bet for 4 months i cried and cried and i know layla was unhappy my good friend dee pointed out that layla was picking up my emotions which were making her unhappy. i tried for my dog not to be miserable around her and she picked up.shes fantastic now and has very few problems apart from the odd bump now and then and they do adapt 

> but how do you not get swamped in emotion when you are told your dog is going blind at 2 and 1/2 .


i dont think anybody can.. I have my eyes in tears just at the  idea of thinking about it.. should be devastating:(

I am so so sorry for you and those in this experience.....

Oh beleive me Silvia there are a lot that can...I can't speek for Lyn but for me thank you for that comment...although these dogs don't really want simpethy....I know for a fact that if I had breed Layla I couldn't have wanted anyone better to be looking after her...Lyn has done so much for her, I really hope that one day I can actually meet her, She is the star, My Jas could still see a little bit out of her right eye, so she wasn't quite so badly off as the beautiful Layla...You know you just have to look at some of Lyns pictures of her holidays, Layla has the most wonderful expression on her face and her body languae is so 'happy'  but this is why I keep banging on about having ALL our dogs DNA tested...if not all of them are tested then on or two might just 'get under the radar' and start all of this again...we need to know where we ALL stand re this problem....




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