a topic:
Cataracts Corneal
Distichiasis Glaucoma PPM
PRA Retinal
Retinal Dysplasia
a Uveodermatologic
Eye Problems


The following eye conditions are the most prevalent in Samoyeds based on data collected on 4770 Samoyeds reported to CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) from 1991-1999.

  • Distichiasis-caused by eyelashes that grow on the eyelid margin. Untreated, distichiasis can lead to corneal ulcers, chronic eye pain, excessive tearing, and eyelid spasms. It is uncomfortable for the dog and permanent removal of the offending eyelashes is best when
    any clinical signs are present. Breeder option on whether to breed affected animals.
  • Corneal Dystrophy-epithelial/stromal--Opacity in one or more of the layers of the cornea; usually inherited and bilateral. Breeder option on whether to breed affected animals. [TOP]
  • Uveodermatologic Syndrome--sometimes called VKH-like because of the condition, Vogt-Kaoyanagi-Harada, which is found in man. This condition is thought to be an auto-immune disease which causes uveitis and loss of pigment primarily on the nose, lips and eyelids, but can also affect the footpads, scrotum, anus and hard palate. Exposure to sunlight can worsen symptoms of the disease. Breeding is NOT an option for affected animals.
  • Glaucoma-occurs when the intraocular pressure (IOP) of the eye increases. This is primarily due to inadequate drainage of the acqueous humor of the eye which causes damage to the optic nerve and retina and subsequent blindness if not treated promptly. In the Samoyed, this improper drainage is usually due to narrow filtration angles in the eye. A gonioscopy exam may be done on your dog to access whether the angles are narrow or wide--BUT, this is not a part of the regular CERF exam. You must request this as an additional test. Breeding two dogs, both with narrow angles, is not recommended. A dog with glaucoma should never be bred. Signs and symptoms of glaucoma:
  1. red eye
  2. weeping of eye
  3. photophobia
  4. elevated intraocular pressure
  5. pupil dilation
  6. enlarged globe (buphthalmos)
  7. corneal edema
  8. blindness
  9. pain-usually vague and non localized
  10. varying degrees of retinal degeneration which manifest as focal haze from infarcts, hemorrhages (adjacent to disc), vascular attenuation, focal or diffuse hyperreflectivity
  • Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM)-left over remnants of blood vessels that should have gone away during the first three months of life. In Samoyeds, most of the reported PPM's are those that bridge from the iris of the eye to the cornea. These may cause corneal opacity and eventual vision impairment. Breeder option on whether to breed affected animals.
  • Cataracts-partial or complete clouding of the eye lens or its capsule. Although the mode of inheritance of cataracts has not been established for Samoyeds, you should assume a genetic component is involved unless another cause can be found. "Breeding is not recommended for any animal demonstrating partial or complete opacity of the lens or its capsule unless the examiner has also checked the space for significance of above punctate cataract unknown". Other less frequent causes of cataracts include nutritional deficiency, radiation, high blood glucose, low calcium, and toxins. [TOP]
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)-a disease that causes eventual blindness due to the degeneration of the visual cells of the retina. A test known as the electroretinogram, which is NOT part of the regular CERF exam, can detect this condition before it is clinically apparent in the Samoyed. Affected animals and or carriers of PRA should not be bred. There is now a DNA test available to detect x-linked PRA in the Samoyed. Information on this test is available on the Optigen website.
  • Retinal Dysplasia-folds--folding of the retina that may be single or multiple. This may be seen in young puppies and as the eye grows, the layers unfold and may no longer be seen. However, retinal folds may also be seen in the carrier (heterozygous) state of Short Limbed Dwarfism and Ocular Defects (SLDOD) and because of this, breeding is not recommended. There is now a DNA test available to detect RD/OSD in Samoyeds.
  • Retinal Dysplasia-geographic and detached--are associated with vision impairment or blindness.
  • Retinal Dysplasia-folds or detachment with skeletal defects (SLDOD)--in the heterozygous (carrier) state of this disease, probably only folds will be seen and there will be no vision or skeletal problems. However, breeding two carriers results in some offspring who will be dwarfs with severe ocular defects including detached retinas and cataracts. Affected animals and/or carriers should not be bred. [TOP]
  1. Ocular Disorders Presumed to be Inherited in Purebred Dogs. 3rd Ed. 1999, Genetics Committee of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
  2. Tilley, LP, Smith, FWK, The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult, Canine and Feline. 1997, Williams & Wilkins.
  3. Aroch I, Ofri R, Aizenberg I. Haematological, ocular and skeletal abnormalities in a samoyed family. J Small Anim Pract 1996 Jul;37(7):333-9.
  4. Meyers, VN, Jezyk, PF, Aguirre, GD, & Patterson, DF. Short-limbed dwarfism and ocular defects in the Samoyed dog. JAVMA 1983 Nov;183(9):975-9.

Suggested Links: [TOP]

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Last updated: Thursday, February 03, 2011

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