Multifocal chorioretinal lesions in the Borzoi explained

Multifocal chorioretinal lesions in the Borzoi explained

Health & Safety

One eye disorder that affects one breed, namely the Borzoi is a condition known as idiopathic retinopathy. The disorder can affect one or both eyes and it manifests itself by causing multifocal chorioretinal lesions in a dog’s eyes. Idiopathic retinopathy is a non-progressive eye disorder and as such, no treatment is generally needed. With this said, other breeds can suffer from the condition too although there are several variants to this eye disorder.

Diagnosing the condition

A vet would need to have a Borzoi's full medical history before carefully examining a dog's eyes. The vet would then typically refer a dog suspected of suffering from retinopathy to a veterinary ophthalmologist who would be in a far better position to come to a definitive diagnosis.

It is worth noting that the disorder was once referred to as multifocal choroiditis and that many canine ophthalmologists believed it could be associated with another more common eye disorder, namely progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). However, more studies suggest that the condition is non-progressive and therefore the consensus is that it is an idiopathic eye disorder. In short, the actual reason why a Borzoi suffers from the condition remains unknown.

A vet would also want to rule out any other eye disorders that could be causing the lesions which includes the following conditions:

  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA)
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Ivermectin sensitivity retinopathy
  • Infectious anterior uveitis

Other breeds known to be affected by variants of the eye disorder

There are several other breeds known to be predisposed to suffering from the condition although, as previously mentioned there are several variants to this particular eye disorder whereas in the Borzoi, it is thought to be an autosomal recessive genetic ocular disease that is caused by a dog’s retina being deformed. The other breeds include the following:

  • Pyrenean Mountain Dog
  • Labradoodle
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Mastiff
  • Cane Corso
  • Lapponian Herder
  • German Spitz

What about mode of inheritance?

More research is needed to establish the mode of inheritance and as such this remains unknown. What is known is that the condition is thought to be hereditary and as previously mentioned, it only affects one specific breed, namely the Borzoi. As such, any Borzois that are known to suffer from multifocal retinopathy should be spayed or neutered to prevent any accidental matings and they should not be used in a breeding programme as this is the safest way of reducing the risk of them passing the disorder onto their offspring.

Treatment options

In general, no treatment is needed for a Borzoi that has been diagnosed as suffering from Borzoi multifocal chorioretinal lesions and research, as previously mentioned has established that it is what is known as a “static” eye disorder which in short means that is does not get any worse over time, or it might get a little worse as a dog ages and reaches their golden years.

What about testing for the condition?

Dogs suspected of suffering from the eye disorder can be tested when they are 7 weeks old and any Borzoi diagnosed as suffering from the condition should not be used for breeding purposes.

Living with a Borzoi with the condition

A Borzoi suffering from idiopathic retinopathy would have impaired vision, but this does not mean they cannot go on to lead full lives providing owners understand their canine companions cannot see as well as they should because they have developed multifocal chorioretinal lesions on their eyes.



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