Dogs may have partial or total deafness affecting one or both ears. The two main causes are birth defects (deafness at birth) and aging. A test will determine with certainty whether an animal hears well or not from both ears.
What Causes Deafness in Dogs?
Dogs may have partial or totalhearing loss. Depending on whether there is one or both ears affected, we are talking about unilateral or bilateral deafness.
The two main causes of deafness in dogs are:
- Birth defects: a dog may be deaf from birth, some birth defects are responsible for deafness in animals (the main cause being a developmental abnormality in the inner ear). Many breeds are predisposed to deafness: Dalmatian, Irish Setter, Australian Shepherd, Bull terrier… Among at-risk breeds, dogs with white coats and blue eyes are most at risk of deafness. Most often, congenital deafness affects only one ear.
- Aging: Older dogs often have partial or total hearing loss associated with old age. This is called presbycusis.
Other causes of deafness in dogs can cause: ear infections, toxics, trauma, infectious agents, endocrine disease (hypothyroidism), a tumor, etc.
A deaf dog can live normally even if some precautions are to be taken. First of all, we must adapt education and give priority to gestures for the learning of the different “orders” (sleeping, sitting…). Exits should only be done on a leash to avoid accidents (dogs do not hear the cars arrived, the recall is also impossible). Finally, you have to be vigilant with children who can be a little abrupt and surprise the animals.
How Do i Evaluate a Dog’s Hearing?
Hearing disorders are not easy to identify, but it is important to detect them as this has consequences on the life of the animal.
A simple way to find out if a dog hears is to make a loud noise when awake. Normally the dog’s ears turn to the origin of the noise. If the ears are motionless in the event of a sudden loud noise, then a hearing disorder may be suspected.
Adult dogs must also know their names and come when you call them. If they never answer their name, then there is still a suspicion of a deafness problem.
A deaf dog can also sleep more (for lack of external stimulation), play little or bark very loudly… He may also be surprised and therefore react aggressively. You have to be very careful when deaf dogs live with children.
To find out for sure if a dog is deaf, a consultation with a veterinarian is recommended. A full clinical examination and further examinations will be carried out to assess the animal’s hearing.
An examination will determine with certainty whether a dog hears or not. This test is particularly useful for highlighting cases of unilateral deafness that often go unnoticed. This is the PEATC examination: it corresponds to the analysis of the auditory potentials evoked of the brainstem. This test is done in a few minutes, it does not require dogs to be anesthetized. It can be carried out as early as 5 to 6 weeks of age.
Testing puppies of at-risk breeds can be used to identify a possible unilateral or bilateral deafness. It is advisable not to breed these dogs as hereditary transmission is suspected.