Very few cases of juvenile cataracts have been found in the Lagotto. In both Germany and Switzerland, several samples have been taken and are being studied in order to examine the possibility of inherited cataracts, and those results are still pending. LRCA member breeders are required to have any breeding dogs eyes tested and cleared by a board certified ophthalmologist before any breeding. Results are to be submitted for certification either through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, or equivalent in a foreign breeder’s country of origin. Breeders are required to have this test done on an annual basis on any breeding dog. One condition that has been reported in some Lagotto is called distichiasis. While it has been found in some lines, it has not been found to be a major issue in the Lagotto. Per the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists website:
Distichiasis is a condition where eyelashes emerge from the ducts of glands within the eyelid (Meibomian gland) which does not normally produce hairs. These "extra" eyelashes often rub on the surface of the eye and may cause irritation.
For more explanation of treatment, please refer to the ACVO website on this condition:
Over several years, there has been some concern over the years that the Lagotto may have a gene that causes the incidence of early cataract development. Some of you may have seen a post on Facebook recently from a breeder in Finland who has found the cataract issue in one of her lines and is supporting further genetic studies to find and isolate the gene. While a lab in Finland had agreed to conduct research, they have since found out that the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics in Germany had already begun such a study. Here is a link with further information regarding the study: http://www.greccio.de/pdfs/katarakt_1.pdf
Anyone wishing to participate in this study should contact Eva Fauth, firstname.lastname@example.org and she will guide you on what is needed and what to do. The testing will require blood samples and they are looking for samples from both cataract free and affected dogs. Some samples have already been collected in Finland, and hopefully they will work together in this important work.