By: Ina 

With reference and formatting assistance from

Barbara Spilchuk, PhD 


My name is Rebble, I am 7 years old and I live with my Mommy in The Netherlands.


At home I have total freedom, inside and outside. There is a fence around the garden so I can walk about freely. I love my home!

A year ago, I noticed that I started to see less and less. My Mommy fixed my hair with an elastic so my eyes were free but that did not help.


When we went outside to play with the ball, I could not see where the ball had fallen, especially if it started to get dark. That was confusing for me.

Right now, in my house, I know the way, as long as everything stays in place. As soon as there is a bucket or something else in the way, I bump into it. That upsets me but I remember well, so the next time I go that way, I walk around anything that was there before.


In the garden, I know exactly the way, even in the dark. Mommy leaves the outside light on because I can still see something light and dark and it helps me move around. Everywhere I go I can sniff freely and I know those smells!!! They are MY garden smells! 


When I want to go inside, I walk with my shoulder along the wall and when I'm at the door, I tap and Mommy lets me in.

Playing with a ball does not work anymore so we play games with chunks of food. This is also fun because I'm training my nose to help me with direction.


I really like walking. Mommy has a bell on her shoe so I can hear where she is. Isn’t my Mommy smart? Now she has ordered a special hat for me to help protect my eyes if I walk into a shrub. When I get the hat, I will ask Mommy if she can make a photo for you so that you can see it!!!

Mommy told me that in a while, I will not be able to see even light and dark. Also the Vet thinks that I will have cloudy eyes, but it’s ok. I will be alright because ... I have my nose and my ears and I am really good at telling Mommy what I want.


My Mommy cried when she learned that I was losing my sight. Poor Mommy. I felt so bad for her. I told her it would be OK and it will be because... 



So don’t worry about me….I'm still a happy Havanese.


Love Rebble

Rebble is the Buyhavanese Profile Dog for the Months of May and June/2017.


Look into the eyes of this beautiful Chocolate Havanese boy. Rebble has Progressive Retinal Atrophy Disease.  You can see him...but he can no longer see you. In fact, Rebble can only see light and dark shapes now and some day he will be completely blind.


Rebble's veterinarian believes that cataracts will form on his eyes to stop all light from filtering through so Rebble's Mommy is training him to use his ears and nose to compensate for his loss of eyesight... and she is doing this now, before all of his eye sight is gone.


Rebble is one of the fortunate Havanese who has a Mommy, named Ina, who will hold him tightly in her arms and help him every step of the way as he moves out of the light and into the dark.

Usually, the first sign of progressive retinal atrophy is night blindness, including a reluctance to go outside at night or to navigate unfamiliar areas in dimness or darkness.


Other signs can include:


Reluctance to jump on or off furniture during darkness
Night blindness (nyctalopia); reduced vision in dim light
Sluggish pupilary light responses
Decreased menace response
Cloudy or opaque eye surface; grayish discoloration of the surface of the eye
Greenish sheen to the eye
Bumping into furniture or walls
Tripping or stumbling over objects
Pawing at the air when going down stairs
Reluctance to navigate stairs


Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Retrieved on May 12/2017 @…/H…/Progressive-Retinal-Atrophy.aspx

If you have a dog that is beginning to experience these symptoms, please go to your veterinarian immediately.

Below is an article that explains, PRA - Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs. This is the genetic eye disease that Rebble has.  It is a frightening disease for Owners to deal with and likely, it is extremely frightening for a dog who is going through the progression of loss of sight. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs

DECEMBER 11, 2011


Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an eye disease in which the retina degenerates and the affected animal suffers impaired vision –– and often blindness. There are two forms of the disease: generalized progressive retinal atrophy (GPRA) and central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA); the latter is the less common form. PRA is hereditary, and many breeds of dogs are affected.



PRA is term that describes a group of genetic diseases of the eyes in which the unexplained degeneration of the retina (the vision-sensing mechanism at the back of the eye) can lead to vision loss. Most often seen in dogs (only rarely in cats), it is typically classified as generalized (GPRA) or central (CPRA).

GPRA is characterized by the gradual loss of vision in both eyes as a result of the loss of the retinal cells that sense light (photoreceptor cells we refer to as rods and cones). Early- and late-onset forms of the disease exist. The early version is typified by an abnormality in the development of these cells, resulting in vision problems during the first few months of life. In the late-onset form, the cells develop normally, but degenerate later in life, causing the first vision problems around three to five years of age. Humans can suffer a similarly devastating disease process called retinitis pigmentosa.


Central progressive retinal atrophy, a rare form of PRA, is also known as retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy (RPED). It’s a disease in which the pigmented epithelium (superficial coating of the retina) degenerates and loses its ability to process light — and consequently affects vision. CPRA tends to occur in older dogs, and has been associated with vitamin E deficiencies. Luckily, it’s slowly progressive, and not all affected dogs lose their sight.


Symptoms and Identification

GPRA usually begins with the loss of night or dim light vision, then progresses to an inability to see in bright light, eventually resulting in blindness. Many dogs may compensate for the gradual loss of vision, so owners may not notice until their pets are quite visually impaired. Unfortunately, this means the process is significantly advanced before the disease is typically identified.

In early-onset GPRA, loss of night vision usually occurs before six months of age, leading to complete vision loss within a year or two. The speed of progression of these signs can vary widely among dogs.


In late-onset GPRA, night blindness may be noticed between three and five years of age, progressing to total blindness by six to nine years of age. Some dogs may also develop cataracts, making diagnosis more complicated.

With CPRA, the insidious nature of the process is even more pronounced. That’s because peripheral vision may be retained for a long of time. Interestingly, a CPRA-affected dog’s vision may actually be better in dim light as well as for faraway and moving objects, thereby allowing owners to assume that vision remains acute, even while it’s becoming severely impaired.


General practitioners may note changes through visualization of the fundus, or the back of the eye. This will typically prompt immediate referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist for definitive diagnosis of these diseases. Veterinary ophthalmologists will usually use electroretinography (ERG) to help diagnose the disease.



There is no known treatment for this progressive disease, though secondary cataract removal, if done very early in the disease process, may aid in vision retention for some time.

While the condition is incurable, it is not painful for pets, and most pets function quite well, even when they lose their vision completely.



PRA sufferers should be removed from the genetic pool as soon as they are identified. DNA tests are now available for many breeds to aid in the early identification of this disease.


CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) certification in affected breeds prior to breeding is considered mandatory for prevention of late-onset GPRA or CPRA in any offspring.


Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs. (Dec 11/2011). Retrieved on May 11/2017 @

If you know of a Havanese who has this disease, please contact There is no specific test to diagnose this disease in Havanese, however, "The only way to get a specific test is to continue to send in samples from affected animals, so that the lab can work towards isolating the mutation in the Havanese breed."

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