Miniature Pinschers and Their Eye Problemsby Dondi Ratliff
Miniature pinschers are not small Dobermans, but can resemble them.
Miniature pinschers may not be suitable for first-time owners due to their willful and stubborn natures. A toy breed, these small dogs do not always look like the Doberman pinschers whose names they share. Miniature pinschers, sometimes referred to as min pins, can develop eye problems specific to their breed including cataracts, corneal dystrophy, entropion, dry eye, progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma and pannus.
Cataracts and Corneal Dystrophy
Cataracts in dogs are the same as in people: The eye's lens accumulates proteins so that it clouds over and hinders vision. Partial or total blindness can result, but surgery usually clears the cataracts though they can reoccur. Similar in some ways, corneal dystrophy occurs when fats (lipids) or calcium accumulates within the middle or outer layers of the cornea in the dog's eye. Milky white spots can be seen in the eyes. Surgery to remove the spots aids in recovering sight, however just like cataracts, the spots usually return. Both of these diseases can be genetically inherited.
Eyelid Problems: Entropion
Some diseases or genetic conditions may flip the eyelid of this breed so that it rests inside out. This problem will irritate the eye itself and can lead to corneal ulcers if left untreated. Surgery is required to repair the eyelid.
Primary and Secondary Glaucoma
The eyes of both men and dogs are filled with a jelly like substance. When pressure inside the eyeball increases, glaucoma may be the reason. Glaucoma is a problem that can happen at birth, called primary glaucoma, or later on due to illness or injury, which is secondary glaucoma. In either case, irritated eyes, dilated pupils and bad vision herald its existence. Medicine and surgery are the only ways to help cure glaucoma.
Both dogs and humans can be effected by keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye, where the eye insufficiently produces tears from the tear ducts. If the dog's eyes are glossy, irritated and/or producing white or green discharge, dry eye may be to blame. Treatment includes various forms of medications such as eye drops and drugs that may affect the immune system.
Corneal Problems: Pannus
Chronic superficial keratitis, or pannus, is a disorder where the corneas in both eyes become inflamed. The eyes may be discolored, blinking is frequent and the eyes themselves give discomfort to the dog. Vision can be lost with this disorder, and there is no known cure, though medical therapies exist to ease the pain.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Like their full-sized namesakes, the Doberman pinscher, the min pin also suffers from progressive retinal atrophy. In this disorder, the retina of the eye slowly but surely degenerates, leading to blindness. Also known as progressive retinal degeneration for that reason, the disease is inherited and has no known cure or treatment. Early stage symptoms include night blindness and dilated pupils.
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