Pigmentary Uveitisis (PU) is an eye condition that was first described in veterinary literature in 2000. It is seen almost exclusively in Golden Retrievers and is felt to have a genetic basis. Not only is PU painful, it can cause blindness and, in some cases, dogs have needed to have their eyes removed to treat the pain! This is a serious issue for the breed. The average onset of PU is 8.5 years and PU has been reported to appear as late as 14.5 years of age. This means that a dog may have been bred before the breeder had any idea that there was a problem...or a dog may have died before developing PU. This would, again, leave a breeder completely unaware of its presence in their breeding lines. The GRCA is currently updating their Code of Ethics to strongly recommend that all dogs used in any breeding program have yearly eye exams for the remainder of their lives. Owners of pets should strongly consider yearly eye exams by a veterinary opthamologist starting at 4 or 5 years of age. If PU is present early treatment may save your dogs eyes.
At this time, we have not had any of our dogs present with Pigmentary Uveitis. However, this doesn't mean that it couldn't happen! This appears to be a new mutation and has shown up in multiple pedigrees which are not closely related. We strongly urge anyone who has obtained a dog from us to consider having their dog's eyes screened on a yearly basis. If the dog's eyes appear to be reddened or painful in any way the dog should be seen immediately. We will continue to screen our dog's eyes for the remainder of their lives. This should be done by an AVCO credentialed veterinary opthamologist. Local veterinarians simply do not have the equipment or expertise to diagnose PU in its early stages when treatment is most likely to spare your dog's sight. To search for an AVCO credentialed opthamologist see the link on our Links page.