PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) is the general term for degeneration of the retina found within some breeds of dogs (and humans). Several breed specific forms or retinal degeneration are caused by mutation in different genes.
Retinal degeneration was first documented in Miniature Long Haired Dachshunds. A 'DNA' test was made available in 2005 that identifies a specific gene mutation known as 'Cord 1'. The identical mutation was then found in Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshunds and Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds. The age in which degeneration of eyesight occurs within 'Affected' dogs varies widely, as do the levels of vision impairment and age of onset.
Breeders of Miniature Dachshunds are required to carry out DNA testing to check their dogs Cord 1 PRA status. The test then shows whether the dog is 'Clear', 'Carrier' or 'Afftected' with the mutation. If both parents of the puppy are Clear then testing is not required as the whole litter will be Hereditary Clear.
***PRA Clear AND PRA Carrier dogs will NEVER be affected by symptoms of PRA***
There seems to be a huge misconception among those looking to own a Dachshund, that any puppy they buy must be Cord 1 PRA Clear as anything else is inferior, defective or unhealthy - this is simply not the case!
If a dog/pup is a Cord 1 PRA Carrier, this purely means that he/she carries ONE copy of the PRA gene, nothing more, nothing hidden, just basic genetics. There is absolutely no eye health, or any health difference between a Clear or a Carrier. The Cord 1 PRA testing was made available purely for breeders, so that we could ascertain which dogs to mate together to ensure that no eye issues would occur in the offspring. As long as ONE parent is PRA Clear, none of the offspring will be anything other than healthy in that department. A problem would arise if two PRA Carriers were mated together, so for this reason we must know the PRA status of our breeding dogs.
All of our girls are Cord 1 PRA Clear except one, who is a Carrier.
I generally use Cord 1 PRA Clear dogs at stud (always with a Carrier bitch), however, I wouldn't hesitate to use a PRA Carrier stud with my Cord 1 PRA Clear girls should he have the qualities I desired for my puppies. I would much rather use an excellent example of the breed that was a PRA Carrier than a stud that was mediocre purely because it is PRA Clear!