Author(s): Washington DR, Li Z, Fox LC, Mowat FM. Canine sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome: Owner perceptions on the time to vision loss, treatment outcomes, and prognosis for life. Vet Ophthalmol. 2021 Mar;24(2):156-168. doi: 10.1111/vop.12855. Epub 2020 Dec 29. PMID 33377263
Journal: Veterinary Ophthalmology, Volume 24, Issue 2, Mar 2021
BACKGROUND Canine sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) causes blindness for which there are no proven effective treatments. We aimed to clarify the time to vision loss, treatment response/side effects, and prognosis for life in dogs with SARDS.
METHODS An online questionnaire was administered to owners of dogs with a historical diagnosis of SARDS. Mortality data were compared with a published purebred reference population. Select parameters were analyzed statistically using general linear model with least square means, two-sample t tests, and chi-squared or Fisher’s exact tests.
RESULTS Responses from owners that stated that their dog visited an ophthalmologist and had electroretinography performed (n = 434) were analyzed. The majority of owners (65.4%) reported the time from vision disturbance to complete vision loss as 4 weeks. Onset of systemic clinical signs to complete vision loss was >4 weeks in 44.5% of responses. A higher proportion of owners reported some vision recovery with combination treatment (14.4%) compared with monotherapy (3.2%, P = .0004). Side effects of treatment were commonly reported. Dogs with SARDS did not have a shorter lifespan than the reference population but had higher incidence of kidney disease (P = .0001) and respiratory disease (P = .0004) at death.
CONCLUSIONS Dogs with SARDS have a rapid onset of vision loss. In the owner’s opinion, treatment is unlikely to restore vision and is associated with systemic side effects. The potential for systemic pathologies that arise after SARDS diagnosis warrants further study.