The FLCNSW strongly supports the Finnish strategy for decreasing the incidence of heritable eye diseases. Departing from the Finnish breed criteria is not advisable on the very important subject of eye health. All Finnish Lapphunds intended for breeding should have an ophthalmological examination, preferably an ACES accredited eye exam in the 2 years PRIOR to being used for breeding. This should be repeated at least every two years, and a repeat exam in old age (over the age of 8) should be considered in any dog that has been used for breeding in the past. Where abnormal eye exam results are obtained, breeders should:
Seek advice on the heritability of the condition from ophthalmological experts.
Seek the advice of experienced breed mentors and breed club health officers.
Consult the English language version of the Finnish Lapphund Club breeding criteria available at www.lappalaiskoirat.fi
The prioritisation of eye health cannot be overstated. The preservation and improvement of eye health is a key priority of the Finnish Lapphund JTO. Individual eye disorders in Finnish Lapphunds are very rare. Cumulatively they remain rare but can cause significant disease burden. Finnish Lapphunds are included on the “schedule 1” list of breeds for the ACES clinical screening examination. The history of this inclusion is worth a mention. Prior to the
availability of gene testing, a clinical eye exam was the best way to identify evolving clinical disease. The breed was known to be at risk of PRA, albeit with less than 3% of dogs affected. The earliest importers of Finnish Lapphund took proactive steps to ensure that this risk was given due attention and the breed was included in the ACES scheme. The prcdPRA gene test became available within a few years, and the screening for prcdPRA moved from ‘eye examination’ to ‘genetic’ screening. Provided that prcdPRA carrier status is known and managed appropriately, the prcdPRA threat to breed health is now minimal. But there are other significant eye diseases that demand ongoing vigilance. These include hereditary cataracts, glaucoma, and PRA of unknown genetic aetiology. These guidelines are not intended to be a primer of individual diseases. The list of rare eye conditions that affect breeding decisions is extensive and may be subject to change. The significance of any abnormal ACES or ophthalmology results should be carefully verified by intended breeders. Research into the inheritance of other rarer types of PRA is an active interest of the breed clubs in Australia.
(Supported by, JTO.)