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Dental Skeletal Retinal Anomaly.


Recently, Cane Corso puppies & young dogs up to the age of two with various, very serious health problems have been seen all over the world.  


Everything from abnormal development of teeth, poor eyesight to total blindness as well as problems with abnormal growth, deafness, kidney disease and abnormal behaviors such as tics.


DSRA is a recessive gene, which means that affected puppies can only be born if both parents are carriers of the gene. If only one parent has the gene, the puppy only becomes a carrier but does not develop the disease.


Affected dogs can not be cured, DSRA is a fatal disease. It is a disease that involves severe suffering for the dog and many difficult decisions for the dog owner.


When a puppy is affected, it is common for it to show all the symptoms. The tooth deviations are the most common and DSRA affects the teeth to varying degrees.


The teeth may show minimal signs, such as discoloration, while other dogs have teeth in very poor condition (this condition is called the imperfecta of odontogenes, meaning that the entire tooth is abnormal in predisposition).


The lack of enamel and exposure of tooth bones causes "weak" teeth that can easily be damaged and / or broken completely. Removal of tooth residue must be done with specialist care due to minimizing further infection or damage. 

Picture 1: Puppy teeth in difficult condition


Dwarf growth & stunted growth. There are some puppies that have remained small from an early age and did not develop normally.

But there are also dogs that develop normally during the first months and stand normally on the legs, but after six months it appears that the legs are clearly shorter than normal and develop crooked / weak middlemen who become completely disproportionate.


There are young dogs that develop normally and have a normal size and leg position at one year of age. How and why this will happen is not yet clear. However, puppies seem to be more likely to get bone fractures.

Picture 2: Weak middlemen


Blindness, which is very often first noticed in the dark, is also a symptom. It can be seen as PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).


The retina deteriorates more and more until the dog is completely blind. It is not a painful eye disease, but neither can it be cured or treated. The puppies have a green reflection in the eyes and with a normal photo with flash, the eyes give a flashlight effect.

An accurate diagnosis can be obtained from an ophthalmologist. The dog will get eye drops, after which the eye can be seen in a dark area with a special instrument. Ask your veterinarian.

Figure 3; Green reflection in the eyes

Figure 4; Puppy during a BAER test


Other symptoms are deafness mentioned by several owners, some of whom have an official diagnosis using a BAER test. Again, the age and degree of onset of symptoms vary.


DSRA and breeding


DSRA is a serious disease! Affected animals rarely reach the age of two. Some puppies are so severely affected that they must be killed as young as 8 weeks.


The quality of life for the dog is affected! Chewing can be very painful due to the bad teeth. Blindness makes the dog insecure & prevents it from living a normal life. The skeletal abnormalities cause crooked legs and swollen joints with pain when moving as a result. Deafness makes the dog even more in a world of its own. Broken claws, kidney disease and tics contribute to the affected dog never being able to enjoy life in a normal way.  


Surgery - removing teeth - and painkillers help the dog for a while but at some point the owner must face the fact that the dog is suffering and the owner must realize that the dog can never get well or better. The affected dog must be killed, which is a very tough and painful decision for the owners.


Breeders with affected puppies until recently did not know what they were dealing with because the symptoms are very varied - sometimes even in affected puppies from the same litter.


The heredity was initially not clear and because the disease was and is rare. Some breeders who encountered puppies with symptoms were not open and honest about it and therefore DSRA has remained under the radar until relatively recently.


It has happened that breeders unknowingly and unintentionally used animals in their breeding program which later turned out to be carriers of the disease. Previously, therefore, serious breeders could not be blamed for puppies with DSRA being among the litters. Fortunately, we now have a test to find the carriers of this disease!

DSRA has been shown to be a single recessive gene. This is the result of an international collaboration between breeders, owners, specialists, universities and the company Laboklin.


This means that affected puppies can only be born if both parents are carriers of the gene.



What can you do?


To prevent affected animals from being born in the future, it is important to know if the parents are carriers or completely free of the gene.

 Figure 5; Bassie, one of the dogs in the joint research

Carriers - that is, the individuals who receive the DSRA gene from only one parent - are not affected!


Carriers can theoretically be used in a breeding program if they are mated with a free partner. The advice must therefore be to only make combinations where at least one of the parents is free from DSRA, either proven with an official negative test result, or that both parents of one parent (the grandparents on one side) have been officially declared free.


Testing can be done with a saliva sample or a blood sample in EDTA tubes. Test sets can be ordered at Laboklin. 

The breeder can send saliva samples himself, but then there is no guarantee for other people if the dog is the one from the test. Therefore, it is better to arrange testing and delivery through the vet. The veterinarian checks the name of the form and pedigree, checks the chip & registration number, takes the samples and arranges the shipment. The test result comes within about a working week. For an extra fee, a certificate can be ordered, which is sent by post.


Only by testing all animals used in breeding can we stop DSRA and prevent more dogs from being born with this terrible disease. More information is available on the Face-book group: Cane Corso dental imperfections, PRA, dwarfim.




Together we can stop this terrible disease!

Feel free to test your breeding animals. Breed wisely. Good luck!



A free translation made by Åsa Nordström on behalf of the Breeding Committee RACC

Material taken from the folder Dental-Skeletal-Retinal Anomaly (DSRA) by Anne van Staavaren

The original material can be read on the Facebook group "Cane Corso dental imperfections, PRA, dwarfism"

Tillsammans kan vi stoppa denna hemska sjukdom!

Testa gärna dina avelsdjur. Avla klokt. Lycka till!

En fri översättning gjord av Åsa Nordström på uppdrag av Avelskommittéen RACC

Material hämtat från foldern Dental-Skeletal-Retinal Anomaly (DSRA) av Anne van Staavaren

Orginalmaterialet finns att läsa på Facebookgruppen ”Cane Corso dental imperfections, PRA, dwarfism”

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