VetGen - The leader in veterinary genetic disease research and genetic disease detection services for purebred animals

Breeds Serviced

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Boston Terrier
  • French Bulldog
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Hereditary Cataracts

There are several types of inherited cataracts in the dog which vary in both their appearance and age of onset. The majority of these are inherited as autosomal recessive traits, but some are inherited as dominant or perhaps polygenic trait.

Recently, Dr., Cathryn Mellersh's research group at the Animal Health Trust identified a mutation in heat shock transcription factor gene, HSF4, which is responsible for recessively inherited cataracts in Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. The test offered here is based on that work.

It should be noted both early onset (EHC), also referred to as juvenile hereditary cataract, and late onset (LHC) cataracts occur in the Boston Terrier breed, and this test is only relevant to the former. In the Boston terrier EHC progress to complete cataract and blindness by 2 - 3 years of age, and LHC only occasionally interfere with vision and is seen before 8 years of age. In the Staffordshire bull terrier dogs EHC are seen by 12 months and progress to blindness by 3 years of age.