PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy and has been discovered in Savannah cats, which affects vision. Since the Savannah breed, especially in the early years, used Bengals, Oriental Shorthairs, Ocicats and Siamese as outcrosses, some of those lines are affected with PRA. As a matter-of-fact, the first cat within the breed was a siamese mated to a serval for the first F1’s. Also, many cats in savannah pedigrees, are registered as DSH (domestic shorthair) when they are in fact other breeds, so we have no real knowledge of the actual outcross used. This practice was common years ago when the breed was developing and outcrosses banned.
Breeds known to be currently affected by PRA are as follows:
* American Curl
* American Wirehair
* Colourpoint Shorthair
* Cornish Rex
* Oriental Shorthair
The genes responsible for the disease are PRA and PRA-B, scientifically known as rdAc. Simply put, a Savannah either does not have this defective gene, is a carrier (rdAc/Normal) or is affected and will develop blindness later in life (rdAc/rdAc). A carrier will not develop the disease, but an affected cat will.
Most responsible, ethical savannah breeders test their breeding cats for this gene. Please be sure to ask your breeder if testing was done and for the written results. Testing is paramount for the welfare of ALL savannah breeding cats and ALL savannah cat buyers and owners should always request results.