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I have been trying to think of a way to post this...I have been banging on, on this site, about breeders and owners, 'putting their hands up' to a ''new problem'' or even a problem that has been around for a while. So I am putting my ''hands up''
Some people will have see the Blog placed by Carol Gill (thank you Carol for posting this) called ''Crufts 2009'' in this blog it states that there is a leaflet supplied by ISAE with reference to a 'new eye problem' in Irish setters. It does not say which lines, or who own the dogs, this problem has been found in..Carol asked me if I knew!! (all three people involved have stated that ''If asked we would not lie'' we would say who we were).
I have one of the 3 ''affected'' dogs, 3 doesn't sound much but when you think that only 7dogs have been tested then this number is quite high.
The dogs have what we think is akin to or is CSNB (Congenital Stationary Night Blindness) which is found in Breards only, at the moment, THIS IS NOT PRA.
The dogs in question have the problem in varying degrees Jas being the worst one affected, she is clinically blind at night.
People have already said that they feel that this comes down a particular line, and named the dog...
PLEASE LETS NOT START SLINGING MUD AT DIFFERENT DOGS, OR ABOUT DIFFERENT BREEDERS. although my bitch and her sister (the other affected bitch) do have many famous dogs, in there lines the THIRD dog has a very different male line, so NO MUD SLINGING PLEASE I am putting this on this site, to get a conversation going, and to see if there are people who have noticed a problem, which I have to say is VERY difficult to see, I have heard of people with totally blind animals that didn't know their dogs were blind, if it happens slowly the dogs adapt to their surroundings, and these, affected dogs, CAN see during the day...
I must reiterate that a breeder CAN NOT legislate against something that they do not know about, and this comes from very diverse lines. If you feel that your dog has any kind of vision problem please ask, where ever you are, this could be a very widespread problem.
Lets now discuss this and see if we can get to the bottom of it ASAP....lets not let it linger and spread through this lovely breed, it isn't PRA, or something painful like Bloat, but it must be very distressing for the animal and I know that it is distressing for the owner involved. We all love this breed or we wouldn't be on this site, and this site is so good to ''get the word out'' and lets see if you can get this eradicated.

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Call me ignorant again I may know it as something else but SLE??
Hi Dee,
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Members interested in genetics and inherited disorders may be interested in the following website Canine Inherited Disorders Database www.upei.ca/~cidd/intro.htm
Thanks again to all for the support, (what is SLE?? I may have heard of it but not in this way) and thanks for the Inherited Disorders Database, I have a tame geneticist in the family and get most of the info from them, although I have to say that most of it goes straight over my head...But I am getting to grips with the real basic things...
It is good to hear that people are having their dogs eyes tested regularly. BUT I can't emphasize enough, this cannot be seen by the regular eye test (ophthalmoscope) we must observe our dogs much closer..As I have said before one of the owners didn't know that there was a problem with her dog, she only had her tested because Jas had shown a problem, and she really only showed a problem when we moved, and when there was NO light at all, living in the middle of a field, in a wood, with no street lights or even stars and moon that is when it showed itself, I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. But dogs have better eyesight than us so she still should have been able to see, the others did, and she adapted, and learnt that if she stayed with the others she was safe. So closer observation, is the name of the game (as it were) and do try and get them away from their normal surroundings and do a test in the ''pitch black''
Angela it must have been hell for you, the not knowing. Having to wait for a DNA test to be developed must have been very difficult. This is the stage we are at, we don't have any litters thank heaven, but we need a DNA test to get to the bottom of this, and of cause it isn't a killer, just stressful while the dog adapts, when it has adapted you wouldn't know that there is anything wrong, until you take them somewhere strange and the light goes...then you are back to square one.
Thanks Kristy for the information. Very interesting site.
The ISAE has a Health Fund, donations and fund raising activities such as the raffles at our shows,sale and auctions of donated items, and from the sale of the ISAE branded items, all go into the health fund. The current balance is just over £5000.

The purpose of the fund is to finance health projects and research. For very many years we have arranged an eye clinic at our Championship Show and each year Professor Bedford has always attended. In recent years since LOPRA was first found to be in the breed, we have offered free eyetests to all entrants to the veteran classes, funded by the health fund. Research into LOPRA is underway, it is estimated that to reach the DNA test stage it could cost around £15000. So if you would like to contribute, buy our stock items or fund raise, it will all help! Past years Annual Reviews full of worthwhile articles as seen in the HD discussion, are still for sale!
Rosie, I am sending you a small donation for the ISAE Health Fund - to your private address as it is the one I have readily available.
Many thanks Susan, I have received it, I will ask the ISAE Treasurer to confirm receipt and thank you for your kind donation. Rosie
Can you tell us a little more about this eye condition? Does it show up on a CERF eye exam? At what age does it develop?

Wendy
Is this latest eye problem in Irish Setters only or has it also been found in the other setter breeds? The reason I'm asking is that I had a male English Setter that came to me as a foster dog and never left. I didn't even realize he was clinically blind until the Fall when he couldn't find the steps leading onto my deck and he kept trying to go to the porch light. The light was not lined up with the opening in the deck railing, he normally followed my 2 Irish Setter girls up onto the deck, that night he was slower coming in out of the yard. It was nearly dark and I had turned the back porch light on so that I could see their water bucket by the back door. I always liked to dump the bucket, wash it out and fill it with fresh water several times a day. I took Ranger to my local vet where he was diagnosed as having Senile Cataracts, but she was not an eye specialist either. Could what we consider to be Senile Cataracts the same thing here? I'm aware that PRA blind dogs can get around and function quite normally as I have lived with PRA blind Irish years ago. Ranger got along very well with little to no vision at all for the 2 years he was here. When he crossed over the Bridge, he was approx. 13-14 years of age.

CERF exams would certainly find these eye problems if owners have their dogs checked every year. Most people don't but they may have to start if this problem spreads. I am an adamant supporter of breeders DNA'ing their breeding stock for PRA prior to breeding having gone thru 3 PRA test breedings early in my years of breeding Irish Setters. Breeders must still be diligent in their breeding practices to make sure PRA doesn't come back to haunt us thru lack of effort.

Barb Simpson, Rustwood Irish Setters and Borzoi in N. TX
Thank you so much for that description of your English Setters problem, unfortunately the only way to detect this problem is by ERG which is a very specialist eye examination, and the dogs that are examined should be between the age of 4-8 this is the optimum time, unfortunately the eyes can deteriorate naturally, if it were cataracts these can be seen on the surface of the eye (not quite the surface just under the surface above the iris and pupil) a cloudyness. I think that there is a problem with another breed, where the cataract is at the back of the eyes.
But this was a very good thing that you wrote this, because I have been saying just how difficult it is to find out that your dog is blind. You have just confirmed what I have been saying. Thanks for that.
I don't know what a CERF exam is (sorry) but it (CSNB) can't be picked up by an ophthalmoscope. My girl has been tested for LOPRA and is clear for that.
We don't quite know when this problem started, when it was noticed by me was when Jas was about 5-6 but she could have had it for longer than that, blindness in the dog, is as has been discussed, very difficult to notice, more so when it comes on slowly, I know I keep banging on about it, but we must observe our dogs much more closely, although I think we have all taken our dogs to the vet and said to them....don't know what is wrong but there is something wrong....please find it....whatever it is.
Better to be proactive than reactive in cases like this. I've written to my local Irish Setter club Board of Directors as information to be considered and written to the ISCA health committee chair as well. If anyone has the leaflet in hand, is there permission given for reprints or placing in newsletters for educational purposes? If the info isn't disseminated, nothing will get done. It still may not, but we must try. Good on you for Dee for this information.

Donna Seigart
Woodglen Irish Setters in Northern California
USA

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