Epidemiology of ocular disorders presumed to be inherited in three small Italian dog breeds in Italy

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To describe the prevalence and the types of eye disorders that are known or presumed to be inherited (KP-HED) in three small Italian dog breeds.


Three small Italian dog breeds: Maltese, Bolognese, and Italian Greyhound.


All dogs of the breeds selected for this prospective observational study that underwent a complete ophthalmic examination between 1994 and 2015 were included. General and proportional KP-HED prevalence with 95% confidence intervals were reported.


Three hundred and six of 462 dogs were affected by at least one KP-HED (66.2%; 95% CI: 61.8%–70.4%). In the entire population, the five most common KP-HED were cataract (n = 122; rate on the total number of KP-HED: 31.4%), entropion (n = 56; 14.4%), keratoconjunctivitis sicca (n = 33; 8.5%), retinal dysplasia (n = 24; 6.2%), and persistent pupillary membrane (iris to iris) (n = 21; 5.4%). The most common KP-HED in each breed were cataracts in the Maltese (35.1%) and in the Bolognese (24.2%), and presentation of vitreous in the anterior chamber in the Italian Greyhound (46.7%).


Clinicians should be aware of KP-HED that commonly affect three small Italian dog breeds. Breed standards should be reconsidered, and breeding programs should be directed at limiting such disorders.

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