Deafness in dogs - Causes, symptoms and treatment

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The dog ear is much more developed than that of human beings, since their hearing capacity reaches 60,000 Hz, when man is only able to perceive sounds at 20,000 Hz. Despite this privileged sense, it is possible that the dog suffers deafness at some point in his life, which generates great concern in human companions.

The first thing to do is find out what is causing the problem, and whether or not it is reversible. In case your dog's deafness has no solution, don't worry: he is just a dog like any other. He continues to feel all the affection for you as always, and if it is a puppy it can be trained without any problem, just like a dog that listens correctly. Find out in this AnimalWised article about deafness in dogs, its causes, symptoms and treatment, as well as everything you need to know so that you and your dog continue to live in harmony.

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  1. Is my dog ​​deaf?
  2. What factors can cause deafness in dogs?
  3. What symptoms does a deaf dog have?
  4. How to know if your dog is deaf?
  5. Is there any treatment for deafness in dogs?

Is my dog ​​deaf?

Contrary to popular belief, it is not true that a deaf dog is more violent, more surly nor more complicated to have at home. Obviously it will require some extra considerations, but nothing you can't handle..

We say that a dog is deaf when it proves to be unable to hear what's going on around you, problem that is acquired (diseases, disorders, etc.) or that occurs congenitally (from birth). It can be total, in which case the dog hears absolutely nothing, or partial, when he still perceives some sounds, especially the loudest ones. Similarly, deafness may be unilateral (affects only one ear) or bilateral (affects both ears).

Deafness does not manifest itself externally, that is, there is nothing in the dog's appearance that reveals the existence of a hearing problem. This is so because the ear, which is the outer part of this important sense, has no relation to what happens inside, in the middle ear and the inner ear of the dog..

When a sound is produced, the dog perceives it thanks to the vibrations it generates when it bounces off the elements from the outside, and it is these waves that go through each ear individually and each middle ear until they reach the inner one, where hearing occurs. When there is deafness, these vibrations are no longer perceived.

What factors can cause deafness in dogs?

Depending on the cause, the deafness may or may not be reversible. In addition, in cases where it is possible to cure it, it is crucial to detect the problem in time, which is often complicated..

One of the causes of deafness in dogs is old age. As with human beings, the body of dogs deteriorates over the years, and the gradual loss of hearing is one of the elements that is evidenced by the passing of time.

When deafness occurs in a young dog, the most common factors they are usually the following:

  • An infection in the ear canal or trauma to the head is also a cause for deafness. Otitis, the presence of mites, a foreign object that has entered the cavity, among other factors, would trigger this type of deafness. It is usually reversible, but for this it is necessary to act quickly.
  • Distemper, common disease in dogs and other mammals, can leave irreversible deafness as a sequel after healing.
  • The excessive accumulation of wax prevents the correct addition, since the plug blocks the channel that perceives the stimuli from the outside. This cause, of course, is caused by a careless human's lack of hygiene. Both in this case and in the case of wounds and infections, the problem in the ear affects the balance of the dog.
  • The presence of a tumor, carcinogenic or not, in the hearing system or even in the brain affects the functions of the ear, causing canine deafness.
  • Some medications reduce the dog's hearing ability as a side effect, such as certain antibiotics, chemotherapy, some drugs used to treat ear infections and even certain household cleaning products that are transported in the air to the ear.
  • Repeated exposure to loud noises, whether bass or high-pitched, impairs the nerves of the ear.

Nevertheless, heredity is usually the main cause of deafness in dogs. It is related to a lack of pigmentation, which is why it affects many white dogs. ¿Why? It does not mean that dogs that are naturally light in color are deaf, but that it affects those that, different from their breed, white predominates as a lack of pigmentation. When this happens, the inside of the ear also suffers this depigmentation, with which the internal nerves deteriorate when the puppy is only a few weeks old. This particularity is not externally visible.

When it comes to heredity, some breeds are more likely than others to become deaf, such as the Dalmatian, Bull Terrier, Saint Bernard, Cocker, Jack Russell, among others..

What symptoms does a deaf dog have?

When the problem is caused by an infection, mites, otitis, etc., it is possible to observe certain symptoms, such as frequent shaking of the head, scabs on the outside of the ear, black wax, loss of balance and obvious pain.

In the rest of the cases, more than physical symptoms what a deaf dog presents are changes in behavior. If it is an adult, you will notice that little by little it seems ignore your calls or orders, which is simply because he cannot hear them. In the same way, it is likely that it will begin to sleep a greater number of hours because, in general, the dog wakes up at the same time as the rest of the family, so it will be unable to perceive the typical morning noises.

A deaf dog gives the feeling of being disobedient and not being interested in games and interaction with his humans, but the reality is that he does not perceive the calls that they make to him. In addition, in cases of unilateral deafness you will see that, before a sound, the dog turn your head in different directions, trying to detect the origin of it.

Deafness is also possible in puppies, evidenced in games that are aggressive to the human eye, since when the puppy bites hard it does not hear the pain alerts that, for example, the human or a brother of the litter gives. In the same way, the puppy will not respond to the calls of its mother to eat, nor to the noises present in the home..

How to know if your dog is deaf?

If you suspect that your dog is deaf, you can perform some simple tests at home to determine his degree of reaction to sounds. When the dog has his back to you, make a sound that does not produce vibration, such as turning on the television, placing your food container on the floor, or shaking something that makes noise. If the dog does not react, you should consider deafness as a possibility and proceed to determine its causes together with a veterinarian. If, on the other hand, he is disoriented looking for sound, it may be unilateral and even reversible deafness.

In a professional way there is a test to determine deafness in dogs, called BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response), applied by a veterinarian. The test consists of placing a series of electrodes on the dog's head, accompanied by headphones on the ears. Faced with sound stimuli sent to the headphones, the dog's brain response level is studied. The only downside is that it is an expensive exam and not all vets are trained to perform it..

However, by observing the signs that we have mentioned in the previous section and with the correct advice of your pet's veterinarian, they will be able to discover what the problem is.. Ear X-rays, observation of the ears and a study of the clinical history of the animal, among others, are in the relevant analyzes.

Is there any treatment for deafness in dogs?

That it will depend on the factor has unleashed your dog's deafness. When it is due to an infection, such as otitis, it is possible that hearing will recover, as long as you treat the disease in time. Prolonged neglect can damage your dog's hearing forever.

Similarly, when deafness is the product of earwax plugging, proper cleaning will suffice to return to normality. Once this has occurred, we recommend that you be attentive to the hygiene of your dog in all its aspects, especially groom your ears once a week or every fifteen days at most.

In the other cases the final result varies, and therefore also the treatment to be applied. The only sure thing is that, once deafness has been declared irreversible, there is no medicine or treatment that can cure it, nor will it be necessary to administer any extra drug to your dog.

What a deaf dog requires is understanding and lots of love, plus patience. When you approach him, for example, always try to do it head-on, so as not to startle him. If hearing has not completely atrophied, call out to the dog using claps or some other low sound, until he gets used to responding to this sound.

Outside the home it is essential to be extremely careful, as the dog will not be able to detect sounds that warn it of approaching dangers. Whenever you go out for a walk, put your dog on a leash and do not leave him free in unsafe, crowded places or where he can run and escape. On the other hand, train your dog the same way you would do with one that can hear, only instead of sounds for commands uses signs and gestures with hand.

As a form of prevention, we also recommend that you put a collar with a tag that not only indicates the name of the dog and your contact information, but also includes the word "Deaf ". Add a bell to the collar, so it is easy for you to know where the dog is at all times.

Treat your dog with great care and patience, play with him and never stop giving him the love he deserves so much. All the care for deaf dogs in our article, ¡Do not miss it!

This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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