Cataracts in the Bichon Frise

Vet Ophthalmol. 2003 Mar;6(1):3-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1463-5224.2003.00258.x.


Purpose: To determine the clinical characteristics of possible inherited cataract in the Bichon Frise breed. These characteristics include the relative frequency, gender effects, site of first cataract formation, age of onset, relationship of age to cataract maturity, and other concurrent pre- and postoperative ophthalmic diseases.

Methods: Four different populations of Bichon Frise were examined. They included: (1) referred patients of the University of Florida (VMTH; 1990-2000); (2) patients from other universities and large institutions (VMDB; 1970-2000); (3) patients from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF; 1970-2000); and (4) special patients recruited from eye clinics and ACVO specialty practices (1995-2001). Blood samples were obtained from many patients for future DNA analyzes. Statistical comparisons between groups were by general linear and anova analyzes, and P < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: The four populations of cataractous and total Bichon Frise dogs included: (1) UF-VMTH: 57 cataractous dogs; (2) VMDB: 406 dogs (28%) with cataracts; total dogs--1407; (3) CERF: 505 cataractous dogs (6%); total dogs--8222; and (4) ACVO: 223 cataractous dogs (57%); total dogs--391. In each population group, gender did not affect cataract distribution. Dogs between 2 and 8 years of age were most frequently affected, and initial cataract involvement affected equally the anterior and posterior cortices. Immature cataracts occurred more often in younger dogs, and hypermature cataracts were more frequently diagnosed in older dogs. Dogs with early cataracts were encountered more frequently in the CERF population. Pre- and postoperative retinal detachments (RD) were not infrequently diagnosed in the UF-VMTH and VMDB groups. RD in the UF-VMTH and VMDB groups occurred in 33% and 13% of the patients, respectively.

Conclusions: Cataracts were first encountered in CERF and VMDB data between 1975 and 1979 and have increased since this time. As expected, both similarities and differences between the four different populations of Bichon Frise were encountered. Both sexes of dogs are equally affected. The anterior and posterior cortical areas of the lens were first involved and dogs 2-8 years of age are most frequently affected. Cataracts affected younger dogs in the CERF group and older cataractous dogs in the other populations. Cataract formation appears to be inherited in the Bichon Frise dog. The frequency of pre- and postoperative retinal detachments present higher risks for cataract surgery in this breed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dog Diseases / genetics
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Male
  • Registries
  • Sex Distribution