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Deafness

General Information

Deafness may be partial or complete, temporary or permanent. A complete, permanent lack of hearing may be a birth defect in white animals. Deafness also may occur in aged pets or those with chronic ear infections. There is usually no cure for these types of deafness, and the hearing loss is generally permanent. Fortunately, total deafness is rare.

A partial hearing loss may also be permanent. However, when deafness is the result of infection, the problem may respond to treatment.

Important Points in Treatment

1. Caution: Deaf dogs are easily startled and may nip or bite. Children should be warned not to startle such dogs.

2. Activity: Confine your pet to the house and walk it on a leash for eliminations, because its hearing loss may prevent your pet from hearing an approaching car or other danger.

3. Special instructions:

 

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur:

* Your pet seems uncoordinated, dizzy or in pain.

* Your pet is reluctant to eat.

* Your pet keeps its head tilted to one side.

* Your pet's signs worsen.

Understanding Your Pet's Diagnosis

Acquired Deafness and Hearing Loss

Dogs with acquired deafness are born with the capability of developing and maintaining normal hearing, but hearing is lost as the animal ages. Acquired deafness is not common to any one breed, but rather, is seen in individuals of all breeds. It is usually the result of damage to the ear components such as the eardrum, middle or inner ear structures and nerves. Diseases such as canine distemper is a common cause of ear damage. Trauma to the ear areas of the head may result in hearing impairment. Various drugs including the Aminoglycoside antibiotics can be toxic to the ear structures and cause deafness. Aminoglycoside antibiotics such as Gentamicin, Neomycin and Kanamycin should not be used except under strict veterinary supervision. High doses and/or lengthy treatments with these antibiotics should be avoided.

In the authors' experience the most common cause of acquired deafness in dogs is simply the result of untreated otitis externa and otitis interna. Mild ear infections left untreated always have the potential to cause hearing impairment.

Regardless of cause, most dogs with acquired deafness are not totally deaf but rather have varying degrees of hearing impairment.

What are the risks?
Dogs with acquired deafness do not all become deaf to the same degree. Some dogs have only a partial hearing loss, in fact, it may not be noticeable to the owner. Others have severe hearing loss. They can be more prone to injuries since they cannot hear commands or objects coming towards them.

What is the management?
There is no treatment for acquired deafness. Fortunately most dogs cope very well with a hearing disability. Individuals can be taught hand signals, and the use of lights can be used to signal dogs as well. The book, Deaf Dog: A Book of Advice, Facts and Experiences about Canine Deafness by Susan Cope Becker may provide the owner of a deaf dog with valuable information.


Hereditary Deafness

Inherited deafness has been reported in several dog breeds. Dalmatians are the most commonly noted; however, English Setters, Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs and Australian Shepherds among others have been reported with inherited deafness. The deafness tends to be linked with the white, merle or piebald coat colors.

What are the symptoms?
Most affected dogs are born with some hearing capabilities, but deafness becomes apparent within a few months. The deafness is due to a degeneration of the nerves within the ear.

What are the risks?
Dogs with inherited deafness do not all become deaf to the same degree. Some dogs have only a partial hearing loss, in fact, it may not be noticeable to the owner. Others have severe hearing loss. They can be more prone to injuries since they may not hear commands or objects coming towards them.

What is the management?
There is no treatment for inherited deafness. Fortunately most dogs cope very well with a hearing disability. Individuals can be taught hand signals, and the use of lights can be used to signal dogs as well. The book, Deaf Dog: A Book of Advice, Facts and Experiences about Canine Deafness by Susan Cope Becker may provide the owner of a deaf dog with valuable information.Because this is inherited, affected individuals should not be used in any breeding program.

The following link might be helpful for TRAINING for deaf dogs: Assisted Living

The information on this page was obtained from the site www.peteducation.com