The Keepers have been watching red wolf #1391 very closely. He behaves normally and is in great body condition, but his eyes have seemed cloudy.
Dr. English, an eye specialist, looked at the wolf recently and diagnosed him with progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). PRA is a genetic disease and is inherited when both parents are at least carriers of the PRA gene and is a common disease in canines. #1391 is almost completely blind at this point and he will eventually lose the last 10% of vision he has. Notice his cloudy eyes in the photo.
He has, however, learned how to navigate the exhibit without any issues. It is quite impressive what he does knowing he can barely see. While we were unhappy with the diagnosis, we were very relieved to learn that it is not at all painful to him. He’ll be checked over closely next month during his physical (check out a post about red wolf physicals in the future) and the Keepers will monitor him and make sure that he continues to thrive in the exhibit.
Want to learn more about PRA?