Monday, June 10, 2013

Exciting Pigmentary Uveitis (PU) Update

If you love golden retrievers, you are or should be aware of pigmentary uveitis or PU. PU is an inherited eye disease that is extremely prevalent in American and Canadian goldens. Since PU often progresses to cataracts and glaucoma, it causes blindness and such pain the dog's eyes much be removed. Clearly, it is a significant quality of life issue for golden retrievers and their owners.

Obviously, breeders want to breed away from PU but the challenge is that the average age that it becomes evident is 8 1⁄2 years, by which time many of the affected dogs have already produced puppies. We can wait till 9 or 10 to breed the boys but we can't wait that long to breed the girls so breeders have been in a quandary. The Golden Retriever Club of America is working closely with researchers to better understand this disease but progress has been slow because of how widespread the problem is and the difficulty of determining whether a dog will eventually develop the disease. Some dogs have developed their first symptoms as late as 14 years of age!

Dr Wendy Townsend, Purdue University, is one of the key PU researchers in the US and has been working diligently toward a genetic test for this disease by examining and collecting DNA from goldens throughout North America. Thus far, 47 Gaylan's Goldens have participated in this research and as a result, our family of dogs may provide a future research opportunity for Dr. Townsend. My sincerest thanks to the Gaylan's owners who have participated in this research!

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