Deafness In Dogs

Overview

Dogs are just as likely to suffer from deafness as any other animal and hereditary deafness is normally responsible.

When a new puppy is born with the defective genes related to hereditary deafness it is possible for them to initially have their hearing intact. It has been widely observed that this hereditary trait can present itself some weeks into the puppy’s life.

Other puppies of various breeds may alternatively be deaf from birth as a result of the hereditary gene.

Deafness in dogs has also been observed to affect dogs unilaterally (single ear) and bilaterally (both ears). Both these instances follow the trend above of both affecting puppies from birth and surfacing some weeks after birth respectively.

Most Dogs diagnosed with unilateral deafness can and do go on to have perfectly normal lives. The deafness in their single ear rarely causes too much of a problem with training or their general well-being.

On the other hand, dogs diagnosed with bilateral deafness face bigger obstacles in their daily lives. UK dog owners of bilaterally deaf dogs must accommodate the obvious issues surrounding training a dog who cannot hear you. Hand gestures and other training techniques must be incorporated heavily due to the condition.

Bilaterally deaf dogs will be largely more prone to behavioural issues in comparison to unilaterally deaf dogs.

As of 2020 deafness in dogs is something that we don’t quite have all of the information on. Scientists are currently studying the condition and whilst initial studies have been positive, identifying the exact gene related to hereditary deafness in dogs is still unknown.

Symptoms

When trying to diagnose hereditary deafness in dogs, the vast majority of cases are identified very early on in the puppy’s life.

Both bilateral deafness and unilateral deafness present themselves with the same symptoms. Bilateral deafness though, is for obvious reasons, easier to identify.

Puppies will normally present the following behavioural traits:

  • Heavy sleeping – unresponsive to anything other than touch.
  • Heavy playing – unable to hear other puppy’s yelps.
  • Unresponsive to calls without owner in sight.
  • Regularly alarmed by objects entering eye line unexpectedly.

Both bilateral deafness or unilateral deafness can be diagnosed accurately by a UK veterinarian using a Baer Test.

Affected Breeds

No dog breed is immune to being affected by this hereditary condition. Dogs of all breeds have been diagnosed with both unilateral and bilateral deafness the World over.

With that being said, dog deafness in the UK does see larger spikes in certain breeds over others.

Dog breeds who have a white coat are the majority of dog breeds most susceptible to deafness. This is because these dogs carry the piebald gene which is a gene that effects pigmentation. This pigmentation in turn is thought to affect the inner-ear during embryo development.

UK Dog breeds with a higher level of diagnosed deafness in the UK as of 2020 are:

Treatment

There is unfortunately no treatment available for dogs suffering from deafness. Medications and surgery are not something that is generally prescribed for the condition.

Dogs born with any form of hereditary deafness will need extra training and special considerations in it’s life as opposed to medical intervention.

Further Reading

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