Deafness in Dogs and Cats

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I literally almost never notice her disability, actually. I keep Simuka from over exnetirg herself with homework. We live on the south shore of Lake Aleknagik, Alaska. She has been here for 12 years. She is a journeyman carpenter and commercial fisherman. I love being outdoors with her. We had the joy of welcoming Izzy, a deaf 7 yr old JRT into our family last year.

Listen up! Deaf pets are great pets - Pets for Patriots

Iz was most likely born deaf, but is completely in denial of that fact. She made herself a member of our family within 15 minutes and none of us has ever had a minute of regret. She is a sound sleeper, a good eater, and a very clean dog. She watches our other rescue dig Ivy for cues for everything from treats and doorbells to the exact time our kids will get off the bus. She has even learned to ring the strand of jingle bells at our backdoor when she needs to go outside. Thanks to Citizens for Humane Action for saving her.

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How to Tell if Your Dog Is Deaf

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Information on Deafness Prevalence, Causes, & Management For Owners, Breeders, and Researchers

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Deafness in Dogs

How to Test Your Dog's Hearing To check your dog's hearing, stand behind him when he is either sleeping or looking in a completely different direction. How to Prevent Hearing Loss in Dogs Keeping your dog at optimal health is important to slow the progression of hearing loss. Changes to Your Dog's Environment If your dog loses his hearing, the first thing you need to do is learn a new way to communicate with each other. In a normal-hearing dog, a series of peaks and troughs is produced which is displayed on a screen.

BAER testing can identify whether your animals are deaf in both ears bilateral deafness or in one ear unilateral deafness. There is no partial deafness in these cases and the deafness is irreversible and permanent. Unilaterally deaf dogs make excellent pets, but they carry the genetic material for deafness. As the condition is hereditary, it makes sense not to use affected individuals for breeding.

Work in the US showed that in unilateral-to-normal matings, the prevalence of affected offspring is approximately double that obtained from matings where both parents have bilaterally normal hearing. It may therefore be possible to reduce the prevalence of unilaterally or bilaterally deaf puppies if only bilaterally normal hearing parents are used for breeding.


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  8. It is hoped eventually that a DNA test may be available to identify carriers of the disorder, and we are currently collecting samples for prospective study and for this purpose, we encourage breeders to always bring over the entire litter if possible. Until we achieve a DNA test, the only way to know with certainty the hearing status of each individual, and go some way towards reducing the percentage of affected dogs, is to evaluate each animal using the BAER test. Different types of animals can have their hearing tested using the BAER, but the other most common species we test is the cat.

    White cats, especially those with one or more blue eyes, are also prone to congenital deafness, and may be tested in the same way as dogs.

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    Cats may not be as receptive to performing the hearing test without sedation, but some will allow it with no problems. However, owners are requested to bring cats and kittens in without having had food on the day of the test, just in case.


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    Kittens may be tested from eight weeks of age onwards and it is always attempted without sedation first.