Vision loss can potentially occur in any canine, regardless of breed. If a Chihuahua is just beginning to lose his eyesight, or if it's already totally gone, progressive retinal atrophy could be the root cause. As a breed, these tiny dogs are susceptible to the eye ailment.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
With progressive retinal atrophy, functioning of the retina declines. This leads to problems with vision and, as time goes on, complete loss of it. Progressive retinal atrophy is a genetic condition. It is common in Chihuahuas and also in American cocker spaniels, Labrador retrievers, Siberian huskies, Portuguese water dogs and many others. It's less common but possible in the majority of canine breeds. Even dogs with mixed backgrounds can have progressive retinal atrophy.
Nighttime Vision Problems
If a Chihuahua develops progressive retinal atrophy, he might start experiencing blindness at night. If a poor pooch seems uneasy about the nighttime, it could be because he simply can't see at all when it's dark. He might refuse to step outside for a nightly walk, for example. He might not follow you into a darker nook of your home after a certain hour, even though he tags along everywhere else you go. Note that the effects of progressive retinal atrophy are indeed often progressive, or and slow. It could take years for a dog to lose all of his eyesight.
Symptoms in General
Since your wee pet can't tell you in words that his vision is worsening by the day, it's up to you to pick up on the telltale clues that he might be giving off. His eyes might take on a subtle green or gray tinge, for example. He might start colliding into things throughout your home, despite being extremely familiar with the layout of the furnishings. He might develop cataracts. He might exhibit troubles with the staircase. He might constantly stumble over things in your home, whether your shoes by the front door or his own food and water bowls.
If you pick up on any possible abnormalities in your Chihuahua's vision or in the actual look of his eye, he could have progressive retinal atrophy, so schedule an appointment with the veterinarian. Only a veterinarian can confirm what is causing your Chihuahua's vision issues. Apart from progressive retinal atrophy, other possible causes include glaucoma and long-term eye infections.
- Animal Planet: Chihuahua Guide
- The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook; Betsy Brevitz
- Animal Eye Care: Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in Dogs
- Eye Care for Animals: Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health; Cynthia M. Kahn and Scott Line
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Blindness
- Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images