Author(s): Hughes PL, Dubielzig RR, Kazacos KR. Multifocal retinitis in New Zealand sheep dogs. Vet Pathol. 1987 Jan;24(1):22-7.
Journal: Veterinary Pathology, Volume 24, Issue 1, Jan 1987
Thirty-nine percent of 1,448 working sheep dogs were affected with varying degrees of multifocal retinal disease on ophthalmoscopic examination. Lesions consisted of localized areas of hyperreflexia in the tapetal fundus, often associated with hyperpigmentation. Severely affected animals had widespread hyperreflexia with retinal vascular attenuation. Only 6% of 125 New Zealand dogs raised in urban environment were similarly affected. Both eyes of 70 dogs from New Zealand were examined histologically. Forty-seven of 70 dogs had ocular inflammatory disease. Ten other dogs had noninflammatory eye disease, and 13 dogs had normal eyes. Histologically, eyes with inflammatory disease were divided into three categories: Dogs 3 years of age or less with active inflammatory disease of the retina, uvea, and vitreous. Four dogs in this group had migrating nematode larvae identified morphologically as genus Toxocara. Diffuse retinitis and retinal atrophy in conjunction with localized retinal necrosis and choroidal fibrosis. Dogs in this category were severely, clinically affected. Chronic, low-grade retinitis with variable retinal atrophy. Most dogs in this category were over 3 years of age, and many were visually functional. The existence of a definable spectrum of morphological changes associated with inflammation, suggests that Toxocara sp. ocular larva migrans may be the cause of a highly prevalent, potentially blinding syndrome of working sheep dogs in New Zealand.