Scientists seek golden retrievers

golden retriever
Pigmentary uveitis is a common eye disease in golden retrievers. Photo: Christina Weese.

Veterinary ophthalmologists at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) are seeking golden retrievers to participate in a genetic study of a blinding eye disease that affects this breed.

Golden retriever cystic uveal disease or pigmentary uveitis is an insidious, blinding condition that has become common in the breed. The disease causes thin-walled cysts to develop in the affected dog’s eye, which progresses to inflammation and then to painful and blinding glaucoma.

The WCVM researchers are evaluating potential genetic mutations that may be associated with the disease. Pedigree analysis from Western Canada has confirmed that pigmentary uveitis is an inherited disease, but the genetic mutation hasn’t been identified yet. 

The WCVM research team is seeking dogs affected by the disease as well as unaffected golden retrievers that are 11 years or older. Dogs participating in the study must undergo a half-hour examination with an ophthalmologist at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre or at another satellite ophthalmology clinic. Visits to the WCVM are free of charge.

Dogs’ owners will receive the eye exam results along with an Orthopedic Foundation for Animals exam form that can be used for certification.

For more details, visit and click on “Animal Care” in the menu. Next, click “Animal Owners” under “Research.”


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