Nutmeg Miniature Poodles

Poodle Health Issues
Nutmeg Poodles is family-owned and operated in East Hartland, CT. Since opening in 2002, we’ve focused on breeding happy and healthy puppies.  This includes health testing for issues such as Hip Dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes, PRA (Progressive Renal Atrophy) and prcd-PRA Type I.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) refers to a group of diseases affecting the retina at the back of the eye. These diseases cause the retinal cells to become increasingly abnormal over time. In most cases, the eventual outcome is blindness. Some form of PRA has been recognized in over 100 dog breeds, including Toy and Miniature Poodles.

 PRA is inherited, meaning the disease genes that cause PRA are passed from generation to generation. In Toy and Miniature Poodles, one specific type of inherited PRA predominates, although at least one more type is present at a low frequency in the breed. This predominant form is the progressive rod-cone degeneration (prcd) form of PRA. Rod cells in the retina slowly lose function, with diminished vision in dim light and diminished field of vision. Subsequently, retinal cone cells lose function, resulting in diminished vision in daylight and eventual total blindness. The age of onset and the rate of disease progression are variable among different breeds, within the same breed and within the same litter. Â In general for Toys and Miniatures, diagnosis of prcd-PRA is made around 3 years of age, based on an eye exam by a veterinary ophthalmologist. Some prcd-PRA affected dogs retain some useful vision throughout life, while others progress to blindness in mid-life. Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for PRA.

 A DNA test offered by OptiGen is available to detect the genetic mutation that causes prcd-PRA in dogs. The disorder is inherited as a “simple recessive,” meaning that affected dogs have two copies of the abnormal gene. The DNA test is used to identify Toy and Miniature Poodles as clear, carrier (one copy of the abnormal gene and one normal gene) or affected. Identification of breeding animals carrying or affected with prcd-PRA is essential to avoid producing affected offspring. For more on the test and its use in breeding decisions, see the OptiGen site (

Not all retinal disease is PRA and not all PRA is the form currently detectable by DNA testing in our breed. Accurate diagnosis is essential. A dog can test as prcd-PRA normal or carrier, yet be affected by a different type of PRA. 

Hip Dysplasia

The hip joint is a ball and socket connection. If the joint is malformed the head of the femur will not properly align with the cup of the hip socket. This misalignment can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, with proper diet and exercise the animal can lead a full and active life. In more severe cases surgical correction or euthanasia are the only alternatives. Diagnosis is generally done with an X-ray. The two preferred testing and rating systems for this condition are Pennhip and OFA certification.


LCPD results when the blood supply to the femoral head is interrupted resulting in a vascular necrosis, or the death of the bone cells. Followed by a period of revascularization, the femoral head is subject to remodeling and/or collapse creating an irregular fit in the acetabulum, or hip socket. This process of bone cell dying and chipping followed by new bone growth and remodeling of the femoral head and neck, lead to stiffness and pain. The net results are similar to those experienced by larger breeds with hip dysplasia.”

OFA further notes: “No specific causes of LCPD are known, although it is believed to have a genetic mode of inheritance, and is not believed to be caused by trauma alone. Because there is a genetic component, it is recommended that dogs affected with LCPD not be used in breeding programs.

In an effort to assist breeders in establishing control programs to limit the prevalence of LCPD, the OFA is offering a new health database specific to LCPD. The OFA evaluations and the subsequent database of information will allow breeders to make more informed breeding decisions. With time as the database becomes more populated, statistical data regarding prevalence and improvement will be an added benefit. The LCPD database will operate in a similar fashion to the existing OFA database for hip dysplasia evaluations. Breeders who would like additional information should visit the OFA website.