Examination of three basset hounds by an AHT vet has uncovered a condition never previously recorded within the breed – primary open angle glaucoma (POAG).

Primary glaucoma is an inherited canine condition and is subdivided into two types: closed angle glaucoma (PCAG) and POAG. In both forms glaucoma results from reduced drainage of fluid within the eye, causing a build-up of pressure which, in turn, leads to pain and blindness.

It was during routine examinations for a PhD project into canine glaucoma in several popular dog breeds that James Oliver, a specialist ophthalmologist at the AHT, discovered signs of POAG within three basset hounds.

He explained: “I’ve examined thousands of dogs as part of my PhD study into PCAG but this is the first time I’ve stumbled across a form of the disease in a breed that I wasn’t previously aware of. POAG has never been recorded before in the basset hound, so it’s a really interesting and important discovery for the breed.”

However, thanks to expertise within the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT, the mutation responsible for the condition has been found and a DNA test launched to help breeders control this blinding disease.

James said: “As [POAG] seems to be an emerging disease in the basset hound, the fact that we’ve been able to find the genetic mutation and launch a DNA test so quickly means that breeders should be able to nip this form of glaucoma in the bud before it becomes a widespread problem.”

He added: “Not only is this test important for future breeding, but it will also enable owners of basset hounds to test their dogs to see if they will develop POAG and monitor them appropriately prior to onset of the disease.”

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