Open Veterinary Journal

Open Veterinary Journal

Peer-Reviewed Journal 
ISSN 2218-6050 (Online), ISSN 2226-4485 (Print) 

"Original Research"

The ophthalmic health and refractive state of working dogs in South Brazil

Juliana Kravetz de Oliveira(1), Mariza Bortolini(1), Melissa Schaller(1), Rafaela Kava Schuchmann(1), Bret A. Moore(2) and Fabiano Montiani-Ferreira(1*)

1- Department of Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Paraná, Rua dos Funcionários, 1540, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

2- Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California, Davis, 1 Garrod Drive, Davis, CA 95616, USA


Background: Working dogs, such as police dogs and guide dogs, have important roles in the contemporary society by performing specific and demanding jobs. Ocular health and the maintenance of good visual acuity is imperative to strong work performance and thus human safety.

Aim: Assess ophthalmic abnormalities and refractive errors in police and guide dogs in Brazil.

Methods: Seventy-one dogs (141 eyes) were evaluated. Ten were guide and 61 were police dogs. Work performance was assessed by a questionnaire to each dog´s handler/owner. All dogs underwent a complete ocular examination, and abnormalities were classified by condition, whether they were active or inactive, and if they were located within the visual-axis. Additionally, 62 dogs were evaluated by streak retinoscopy for refractive errors.

Results: Ophthalmic abnormalities were detected in 38 (54%) of the dogs, of which 23 were considered inherited, 25 were considered active, and 10 were located within the visual-axis. Incipient cataracts were the most prevalent abnormality. No guide dog had an abnormality within the visual-axis. The most common refractive error was myopia and the median and interquartile range of -0.75 ± 0.75 diopters, among these, police dogs had -1.0 ± 0.5 diopters, whereas guide dogs +0.38 ± 0.75 diopters. Police dogs tended to be slightly myopic and guide dogs were emmetropic.

Conclusion: Despite finding a considerable number of ophthalmic abnormalities and refractive error, work performance was good with no signs of visual impairment in any dog. Regular ophthalmic examinations is advised for working dogs, and exclusion of severely affected dogs from breeding programs is recommended.

Keywords: Cataract, Emmetropia, Guide dogs, Myopia, Police dogs.

Cite this paper:

de Oliveira, J.K., Bortolini, M., Schaller, M., Schuchmann, R.K., Moore, B.A. and Montiani-Ferreira, F. 2020. The ophthalmic health and refractive state of working dogs in South Brazil. Open Vet. J. 10(1), 22-30.