Prepared by Jocelynn Jacobs-Knoll, DVM (Oct 2000)
The PRA research unit at Cornell is still looking
for blood samples from verified PRA malamutes. What is PRA? It is characterized by
degeneration of the cells of the retina, leading eventually to blindness. As the name
implies, the degenerative changes are progressive, but often quite gradual. It is
definitely inherited and is considered a simple recessive trait. For more information
The primary researcher, Dr. Greg Acland, stressed the importance of a verified diagnosis
before the sample can be included. This means diagnosis by CERF evaluation or by a
certified vet. ophthalmologist. There are other conditions or injuries that can look like
PRA. Few clinic vets are qualified to make this judgment. If you think you might have a
candidate but aren't sure, have your vet contact for more precise information.
This research also involves other northern breeds, and is supported by CHF Grant 1273.
But it will only benefit malamutes if they can obtain enough samples from affected dogs,
and that is something money can't buy. If you know of a PRA dog, that blood sample might
be the one contribution that makes this project a success.