prcd Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited eye disease that cause blindness in dogs. In Portuguese Water Dogs, it is a form of PRA called prcd or progressive rod-cone degeneration and is inherited through an autosomal recessive gene. Because the disease can be passed on only if both dogs carry the gene, a test that identifies carriers will help breeders make appropriate choices when selecting breeding pairs.

The research approach involves using genes already identified as candidates for causing prcd. A mutation-based DNA test would single out the mutant prcd defect in every affected or carrier individual and would be unequivocally accurate. It is also less costly and easier to perform than the current linkage-based test.


A mutation-based DNA test was developed and you can use blood, cheek swabs or frozen semen (semen would be used in the case of a deceased male and does not have to be submitted frozen, which greatly reduces the cost). For test information, forms, etc. visit Optigen’s website.

Research funded by the Portuguese Water Dog Foundation, Inc.


Gustavo D. Aguirre, VMD, PhD
Gregory M. Acland, BVSc
University of Pennsylvania