Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Yorkiepoo Dog Breed

Cute yorkipoo in grass outside

A Yorkiepoo is a mixed breed dog, originating in the US between a Yorkshire Terrier and a poodle. They make an excellent companion since they are intelligent, loving, and kind. They’re also ideal for apartment living, particularly if you don’t mind the barking. Additionally, Yorkiepoos are low maintenance.

Yorkipoo is a small dog breed and is about 7 to 15 inches tall, and weighs between 3 to 14 pounds. Additionally, a Yorkipoo might be a blessing for you if you love dogs but suffer from allergies. Its small size and hypoallergenic fur make it possible for many people suffering from allergies. It was born with a promising gene pool and is full of devotion and love. The Yorkiepoo dog breed faces various health issues, one of which includes Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Yorkiepoo – Progressive Retinal Atrophy Explained

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a set of degenerative illnesses that damage the photoreceptor cells found in the retina. The cells in this condition degrade over time, eventually causing blindness in the Yorkiepoo. Night blindness is the first sign of Progressive Retinal Atrophy. PRA might vary from dog to dog due to various factors such as age, gender, and so on.

There are two types of PRA in dogs: an early-onset or a hereditary form, also known as retinal dysplasia, discovered in pups between the ages of 2-3 months, and a late-onset variant detected in adult dogs between the ages of 3-9 years.

The late-onset type is commonly referred to as Progressive Retinal Atrophy, while the early-onset variant is retinal dysplasia. The photoreceptor cells of the retina grow improperly in retinal dysplasia, resulting in early blindness. It mainly impacts both the rods and the cones.

Mixed breed dogs, contrary to common belief, are not generally healthier than purebred puppies. They are vulnerable to health issues that affect one or both parents. Progressive Retinal Atrophy starts with the Yorkiepoo losing his sight at night and progresses to complete blindness. This eye disease affects many tiny dog breeds; Yorkshire Terriers and Yorkiepoos are among them.

Cute yorkipoo sitting outdoors

Causes of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Yorkiepoos

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a genetic disorder in which the tissue of the retina degenerates. Yorkiepoos mostly inherit it and have a genetic predisposition to it. An autosomal recessive gene, which both parents must carry, has been identified as the source of the condition. Even if the parents are not infected with the illness, the puppies they produce may be infected. This condition typically damages a dog’s vision at the age of 6 to 8 years.

Some diseases are extremely rare, and your Yorkies have about the same chance of contracting them as you do of winning the lottery. Unfortunately, PRA is not one of them. In certain breeds, one out of every five puppies has the PRA gene. A Yorkiepoo is among them. This means those of you with certain purebred dogs, like a Yorkiepoo, should be even more cautious of this disease.

How Progressive Retinal Atrophy Can Affect Your Yorkiepoo

Loss of sight due to Progressive Retinal Atrophy affects the Yorkiepoo in different ways. Some dog owners report their pets are depressed. Some owners have reported changes in behavior, leading to aggressiveness. On the other hand, others claim they had no idea their dogs had gone blind because nothing had changed. Additionally, some dogs are entirely unconcerned about the circumstance.

Dogs, like people, may engage in a range of activities to deal with eyesight loss. They may use multiple behaviors at once, and they may switch back and forth between them. Depression, fear, hostility, and reliance are all common traits in dogs dealing with this condition.

A dog may react to blindness as if it were an attacker and may attempt to “fight.” If your dog was a dominating, aggressive dog before becoming blind, this might become more obvious now. Similarly, if your dog was scared before the blindness, this might emerge as hostility now because fear and aggression are strongly related. Your Yorkiepoo may strike out at family members if he is unable to distinguish an actual attacker. Other dogs in the house, their owners, and family friends may be snarled at, snapped at, and bitten by the Yorkiepoo.

Some dogs try to “fight” blindness but fail. And “fighting” isn’t always the best option for certain dogs. Aggression would usually cause these dogs to run. Unfortunately, “fleeing” is not a viable choice for these pets. Their blindness accompanies them everywhere they go. In the end, many dogs’ traditional coping mechanisms are useless. These dogs become overworked and “shut down” as a result. They prefer sitting or lying down in the corner of a room.

Blindness also causes depression, which is a typical and natural reaction. A few dogs never seem to be able to move out of this state. In addition, a decrease in hunger and activity (play) can be seen in dogs affected by Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Some dogs also have a higher inclination to be dependent after losing sight. These dogs become increasingly afraid to complete activities on their own. They might not even be able to walk across a room, let alone a flight of steps. When this happens, the Yorkiepoos owner will find himself doing more and more for his dog.

The Yorkiepoo adores people and has a good time. They will amuse family and are always happy to do tricks or show off for anybody who sees him. Their self-assurance prevents them from becoming unduly irritable or violent. They are usually comfortable in their own skin, but PRA may affect their chirpiness and willingness to play

Exactly How Severe Can This Health Condition Get?

Your dog’s eyesight will steadily deteriorate as PRA advances until they are entirely blind. Keep in mind, though, that blindness does not have the same impact on a family pet as it does on a human. Your Yorkiepoo will begin to rely more on his other senses, such as smell, and may wander around freely in the house as long as furniture and other things are not disturbed. Cataracts might occur in the latter stages of the disease. In most situations, the dog loses their eyesight completely over 1-2 years.

Cute yorkipoo puppy

The Life Expectancy of a Yorkiepoo With Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Yorkiepoos’ life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years. PRA doesn’t cause death and does not have an affect on the life expectancy of the dog. However, it can affect his quality of life if his loss of sight is not dealt with properly.

What Signs or Symptoms Should Dog Owners Look For?

Because PRA is not a painful disorder, it is rarely discovered in its early stages. The most common symptom of PRA in dogs is night blindness. Affected dogs are jittery at night, may become hesitant to enter dark spaces, and may trip over objects when the light is poor. When light falls on a dog with PRA, owners typically notice the eyes have become exceedingly reflecting and the pupils have dilated more than usual. The condition affects both eyes. In other circumstances, the pet owner may not notice anything unusual while their Yorkiepoo is at home, but over time, they may find their dog has gotten clumsier when in strange situations.

The early symptom in dogs with the hereditary variety may be a loss of day vision or complete blindness. You may find your Yorkiepoo is less daring and is hesitant to jump down from any height since he can no longer assess distance. Alternatively, you may see your Yorkiepoo colliding with objects around the house, particularly if you rearrange the furniture. The disease has normally developed to an advanced stage by the time you notice this behavior change. As your dog’s day vision deteriorates, you’ll see a white opaqueness growing in the middle of the pupil. This is the beginning of a cataract, which will further reduce your dog’s day vision.

The earliest indication of the condition is typically a progressive loss of night vision in both eyes. Day vision degradation continues over time until complete blindness occurs and eyes start to seem hazy. Moreover, the eyes get grey and have a faint gloss to them. The hue of the melanin in the eyes has faded, and on the retina, cataracts develop. Both eyes get dilated pupils.

How Can Dog Owners Accurately Determine if Their Dogs Have PRA?

If you think your Yorkiepoo is losing his vision, you should call your veterinarian, who will send your dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist and certain eye tests can be performed. The electroretinogram is the most common approach for diagnosing any abnormalities in your dog’s eye (ERG). The retina’s reaction to light is measured in this test. This test can determine whether or not your Yorkiepoo has Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

PRA can also be detected using blood or buccal mucosa genetic testing in various breeds. Breeds with a recessive PRA gene may still be carriers of the gene and pass it on to their offspring, even if they don’t show symptoms, and disease onset may take longer than predicted, making this an unsatisfactory test at best.

How to Care For and Treat Your Yorkiepoo for Progressive Retinal Atrophy

What Treatment Options Are There for This Health Condition?

Although there is no cure for Progressive Retinal Atrophy, if you keep your dog’s surroundings consistent (keeping furniture and things in the same area), your Yorkiepoo will adjust to the disease quite well. Although the studies are not definitive at this time, recent improvements in test therapies utilizing antioxidants have been demonstrated to reduce the rate of deterioration in the retina. Lutein, a carotenoid supplement, has been found to have a comparable effect in people, but it is only valuable in the initial stages of the condition. The ingredient Lutein hasn’t been tested on dogs yet. However, current research aims for a cure or, at the very least, a slowing of the illness.

Because PRA is slowly progressing and not visible at first, your dog’s condition is generally at an advanced stage when it is identified, as is the case with many diseases. Cataracts that grow over the center of each eye are not removed by a veterinary professional since they do not help with vision and, if removed, may create additional issues such as glaucoma. Fortunately, your Yorkiepoo will experience no discomfort; it will only take some time to get used to moving around, and your pet will be fine.

What Steps Must a Dog Owner Take When Faced With This Health Condition?

Creating a familiar setting for your Yorkiepoo, who has just had a visual loss due to Progressive Retinal Atrophy, is one of the most delicate things you can do for them. This will allow your blind dog to freely navigate the home without fear of being injured. Your yorkies will eventually learn where everything is and avoid any risks after some trial and error.

Next, ensure the dog food and water bowls are kept in the exact location, so they can get to them at any time. Use textured mats and rugs to demarcate places where your Yorkiepoo must pay attention, such as their food and water bowls or areas near obstacles. By introducing these tools now, your dog with Progressive Retinal Atrophy will become accustomed to them and rely on them when their vision deteriorates.

Maintain a clean and safe environment. Make sure stairwells are adequately lighted and switch lights on when your Yorkiepoo walks around the home or up and down the stairs at night. Remember when you had to puppy-proof your home? Now you will have to do it all over again but this time with an emphasis on blind dogs.

The following will help you connect with your Yorkiepoo regularly. Hearing your voice will assist your dog figure out where you are and calm them down in stressful situations. Create and practice vocal cues for your dog to help them know when someone is approaching or a door is opening.

Keep in mind that if your Yorkiepoo loses his vision, he will be vulnerable to specific threats. Because your Yorkiepoo may not be able to detect oncoming traffic or other risks as effectively as they once could, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye and make sure they are safe.

Stick to the same route while taking your blind furry buddy for a stroll, so he may become familiar with the trail and see which directions to follow.

You can also think about purchasing a blind dog harness, which will alert others to the fact your Yorkiepoo is blind, especially while you’re out on a walk. A halo encircles the harness preventing your dog from colliding with sharp objects. The harness might also help your Yorkiepoo gain confidence while on the go if he gets acclimated to it. Always keep an eye on your Yorkiepoo and establish a connection with verbal signals, so you can keep him away from threats or place him on a leash if necessary as you work on these abilities. 

Yorkiepoo in front of white wood wall.

How To Help Your Yorkiepoo Live a Fulfilling Life With Progressive Retinal Atrophy

If your dog’s eyesight has been lost due to Progressive Retinal Atrophy and cannot be restored, your doctor can give you tips and guidelines on how to help them manage their new senses. The doctor might also provide you with the knowledge you need to adjust your lifestyle to care for them properly. Following are some options to consider as you try to change your pet’s care.

Even dogs with Progressive Retinal Atrophy can indeed have a good time and a fulfilling life! While fetch is not the safest pastime for a vision-impaired dog, a rollicking game of tug or a parade around the house will keep your pet entertained. Incorporate scent-based games into your daily activities. Play a game with your Yorkiepoo in a familiar setting or hide goodies or a favorite toy for him to locate.

Even if your dog has Progressive Retinal Atrophy, he will cherish training time. Because your Yorkiepoo cannot see hand signals, body language, or a lure, teaching new tricks and behaviors may require you to be innovative in your training strategy. Experiment with clicker training and shaping, and, if applicable, conduct verbal signals for behaviors that your Yorkiepoo already understands.

Due to Progressive Retinal Atrophy, your Yorkiepoo will miss body language and visual signs that other animals provide him as he can no longer see. When dealing with other dogs, this might lead to issues. So, always keep a watch on your dog when he encounters new and untrustworthy dogs.

While caring for your blind Yorkiepoo may require additional effort and time, it will be worth it in the long term. You may be frustrated by your dog’s clumsiness or misunderstanding at times, but keep in mind that he is doing his best. Most dogs soon adjust to their new normal and thrive in a friendly setting. Persistence and affection go a long way toward ensuring that they have happy and fulfilling lives.

Was this article helpful?

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.