Everyone knows the good ear the dog has. In fact, while the human being perceives sounds up to 20,000 Hz, the dog does so up to 60,000 Hz. Even so, there are specimens that are born deaf or lose their hearing capacity over the years.
If you think your pet may not listen well, the first thing you should do is find out the reasons. Deafness in dogs does not imply a worsening in the quality of life of your pet. Do not panic if you discover that your dog is deaf. He will remain a dog like any other and will offer you all his love without hindrance.
How to know if my dog is deaf
If your dog is not able to hear its surroundings, the animal is deaf. The causes can be congenital or due to some disease. Deafness in dogs can be complete or partial. Similarly, the animal may suffer from deafness in one ear or both.
At first glance you can never know if your pet suffers from the dreaded deafness in dogs. The animal will not behave differently from any congener with the sense of hearing intact. This is because the animal's ear is completely foreign to the sense itself. That is, the function of the ear is to protect the dog's ear.
Before a sound, the dog is able to perceive it by the vibrations that occur. When these waves pass through the middle ear and reach the inner ear of the animal, hearing occurs. Deafness in dogs causes these vibrations cannot be perceived.
You can know if your dog is deaf by doing some easy tests at home. When you have your back to you, make some noise that does not produce vibrations (turn on the TV, put your pot of water on the floor or shake the keys). If your dog does not turn it is likely to be deaf. In this case, go to your trusted veterinarian to confirm it and find out the cause. If your reaction is to look for the sound but you do not locate it, you will most likely suffer from deafness in one ear and, in addition, be reversible.
Anyway, the veterinarian can always apply the BAER test (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) to confirm or rule out dog deafness. This test consists of placing electrodes and hearing aids on the animal's head and ears and, after applying auditory stimuli, studying the brain response.
You can also radiograph the ears and observe the dog's ears to determine whether or not the dog is deaf.
What is the cause of deafness in dogs
Not every deafness in dogs is irreversible. The important thing is to realize on time and remedy it as soon as possible. However, the most common reason for this deafness is the advanced age of our pets.
However, if the dog is still young, the usual causes of deafness are as follows:
- Infections in the ear canal or head injuries. Otitis, mites, foreign objects can trigger deafness in dogs and, in these cases, it is always reversible.
- Excess earwax As with us, if the dog has a wax plug in the ear canal, he will lose his ability.> What symptoms does a deaf dog have?
If deafness is due to external agents and can be reversed, the dog will show symptoms such as Ear scabs, excessive head shaking, loss of balance and pain.
In case the deafness is due to other causes, all you will perceive are behavioral changes of your dog If your dog is an adult you will notice that it stops responding to your call when you cannot hear it. In addition, he will spend more hours sleeping. Keep in mind that the dog wakes up at the same time as you and, if he doesn't listen to you, he won't know it's time to get up.
You might think that a deaf dog is disobedient who is not interested in playing with humans. Nothing is further from reality. He simply does not perceive the sounds and finds it difficult to find out that you are trying to get his attention.
In the case of puppies, you cannot be tempted to think that the animal is more violent than its peers. While a dog without deafness listens to complaints if it causes pain when it bites, a deaf person will not. You will have to show him other ways to express pain, love, calls so that he understands that you are ‘talking’ with him.
Of course, with this article we just want to inform you. We suggest that, if you have any questions about the health of your pet, go to your trusted veterinarian before.
An almost perfect hearing machine
The ear is responsible for the extraordinary hearing ability of the dog: a dog can perceive sounds of up to 60,000 hertz in front of the 20,000 hertz that man can hear.
When a dog suffers from deafness, it tilts its head and can suffer falls
Dogs often distinguish bass sounds better too.
The ear of a dog has three parts: an external, visible, which is the animal's ear. The middle ear, which connects the ear with the deep parts, serves to protect the animal from excessive sounds. And the inner ear: a set of ducts and cavities filled with liquid that gives the animal the ability to hear, but also to keep its balance. When a dog deafens, it tilts its head and can suffer falls.
A dog perceives twice every sound emitted: one for each ear. The effect is very similar to the echo phenomenon when sound waves bounce off a surface. "This duplicity only disappears when the source that produces them is in front of or behind the animal," explains canine educator Leticia Navas.
The peculiar movement of a dog's ears before a new noise, as if they were a parabolic, have to do with this double perception of vibration, "If the source of the noise moves or if the dog moves, the sound will always come first to one of the two ears. In this way the animal can find out the exact place where the sound waves originate, "adds the canine educator.
Congenital deafness is common in white fur dogs
When the complex ear machine fails, the animal stops receiving vibrations properly. And the first ones appear deafness symptoms.
Kinds of deafness
Dog deafness can be temporary, caused by some infection. When the pathogen contamination worsens, the disability becomes chronic. Not all deafness is due to contamination. The presence of a wax plug in the ear also entails temporary hearing losses, in this case due to poor hygiene of the animal by the owner.
Some injuries and illnesses are responsible for other hearing losses permanent, while old age triggers a gradual reduction in the dog's ability to hear certain sounds. Early detection of this type of deafness, as well as a regular cleaning of the animal can prevent them from getting worse.
But the most frequent type of deafness in dogs are the hereditary, the ones that hide in the genes of the animal. "Hearing disability due to abnormalities in the genetic material is the most common cause of deafness in dogs," says Navas.
Deaf puppies bite their toys excessively
In a way, the absence of pigments in the skin reduces the ability to hear. "If there is skin without pigment in the inner ear, the nerve endings atrophy and die during the first weeks," Navas explains. This explains why deafness is common in white-haired dogs.
To detect a deafness in time, you can use some home tests simple. The owner can make noises with an object that is familiar to the dog, as one of his toys (if they are loud) and wait for their reaction. The noise of a bunch of keys or ringing a bell serves to discern a hearing problem. Other specialists recommend talk and increase the volume until it catches the attention of the dog. For any suspicion of poor attention span, it is best to make a prompt visit to the veterinarian.
Alert on deaf puppies
Deaf puppies tend to to bite excessively when having fun, since they don't hear the laments of their playmates. There is another alarm signal to attend in the offspring that, it is suspected, are insensitive to noise: the puppy does not wake up to breastfeed with the cries of his brothers, and needs to be pushed by the mother or another puppy to wake up.
Keep your dog's hearing hygiene up to date.
Test at home with sound objects.
Long-eared dogs need to air their ear canals while they sleep.
Deaf puppies bite their toys excessively, and they are sleepy.
Visit the veterinarian on suspicion that your dog loses hearing.
All about deafness in dogs
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Congenital canine deafness they do not need very complex or special treatments. It is important to be careful with sunburn, as in any other dog, paying special attention to your nose, your entire body in case it is a dog without hair or very short and light hair. In these cases, It is best to avoid the most intense hours of sun in summer and protect them with sunscreen.
As you know, The ear is also responsible for balance. Long-eared and hanging-eared dogs are at greater risk of infection if their hygiene is not correct, and thus deafness can appear in these dogs. When they feel discomfort, they tend to violently shake their heads, scratch their ears compulsively and experience redness and inflammation, even pus if the infection is severe. Sometimes, these ailments visibly affect your balance. Ignoring auditory discomfort can evolve into more serious diseases that cause deafness in dogs, in addition to chronic irritation, permanent problems of balance and coordination, among other problems..
Lack of normal reactions to sounds or daily stimuli or difficulty in detecting the origin of sounds can be signs of deafness. Sometimes it can be simply a temporary deafness, caused by an infection or plugging, so it is advisable to maintain good hygiene in the ears of our pets.
If you suspect that your dog is losing hearing, There are some methods to check your level of hearing loss. From there, We can go to the vet to convey our impressions. For example, it emits some sound that does not produce air, vibration or any other stimulus that can help the dog detect it: call it by name from another room, turn on the TV, make noise on its plates ... things that are generally of interest.
Detect deafness in dogs with the BAER method
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Apart from the homemade checks that can give us a slight idea of our dog's hearing ability, The only really effective test to determine canine deafness is the BAER test.
The acronym BAER stands for Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response and The test consists of a stimulation by means of electrodes that emit sounds, in order to evaluate the brain activity in response to the stimuli received. It is not painful and can be practiced even in puppies, it can usually be done without sedation.
Each ear is tested separately and the procedure lasts no more than 10 or 15 minutes, giving immediate and entirely reliable results.
Symptoms of deafness in dogs
Yes, some behaviors are characteristic of dogs with hearing problems. For example, when a litter of puppies plays, if one of them is deaf, he most likely bites his siblings excessively without being aware of it, since he cannot hear his complaints of pain. Also, if he is asleep, he will not answer the mother's calls to breastfeed.
When canine deafness is unilateral, it is much more difficult to detect, since the dog does receive enough sound stimuli to act normally. Only bilateral deafness do you really notice strange behaviors.
As well It is true that a dog with unilateral deafness can hear sounds, but it may not detect well where they come from and be disoriented when trying to look for them. In that case, it should be noted if the dog turns or goes where the sound was produced.
Treble sounds are harder to detect for dogs, if your dog suffers from deafness you can call him clapping, for example, instead of whistling or by name. The sound of slapping is perceived as much more serious by your dog and it will be much easier for him to locate it. Another option is to use a specific whistle for canine training.
Detect canine deafness
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As we said, After these home tests you should go to the veterinarian to have a detailed and reliable diagnosis.
The veterinarian will find out which area is affected, if the inner ear, the middle or the outer ear, and if the problem is purely auditory or if it is a sign of another disease. Most likely, you need to anesthetize your dog to be able to examine it in depth without getting nervous. Some of the tests you can perform are x-rays, biopsies or allergy and hypersensitivity tests. When studying deafness in dogs, as they cannot tell us what they hear and do not hear, the more tests are done, the better.
Signs of most common hearing problems in dogs
It is very normal that A dog with discomfort in the ears shakes his head and scratches his ears a lot. One of the causes may be that a foreign body has entered its ear canal. In this case, you have to go to the vet as soon as possible and, if it is confirmed that there is something in your ear, it will extract it.
The presence of pus is a sign of a hearing infection, which causes a lot of pain and if left unchecked it can end in a canine deafness. To treat this infection you will have to apply antibiotic, or fungicidal or anti-inflammatory treatment, always prescribed by the veterinarian.
Blackish earwax may also indicate a problem with ear or ear mites. It also needs treatment and is contagious, so be careful if you have other pets.
If there is inflammation in the ears it may be due to a blow or the dog's own shaking of the head. Ear irritations may also appear.
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Is deafness a serious problem in dogs?
Apart from the obvious physical defect, A deaf dog is as normal as any other, they look the same and have the same behavior. Deaf dogs just can't hear, so they need other stimuli that they can detect, but they are just as cheerful, playful and happy as others, they will lead a completely normal life.
When a person has just discovered that his dog suffers from deafness or plans to adopt a deaf dog, he may have difficulty getting the idea of taking care of him., thinking that it will be more complicated than caring for a dog that hears. Many uninformed and prejudiced people believe that dogs with problems such as deafness develop inappropriate behaviors, aggressiveness, disobedience ... but this is not true.
Behavior problems occur in all types of dogs and are the result of a bad education, the fault of its owner. A deaf dog is just as valid, affectionate, faithful and intelligent as any other, and needs the same dose of love and understanding, in addition to proper education and training. Once this is done, the dog will not have any kind of behavioral problem, regardless of his physical defect.
How to know if my dog is deaf?
The dog hears four times better than humans, so knowing if he has this limitation will be relatively straightforward. If our friend does not come when we talk to him, nor does he wait for us behind the door when he did before, it will be time to worry. Even so, to make sure we can do several things, which are:
- Sound a sound toy: it has to be one that he likes very much, with which he really has a good time. If he does not flinch, it could be that he is becoming deaf.
- Slap: This is especially advisable to do when you are asleep. If after giving them the hairy one he continues to dream, then he could suffer deafness.
- Talk to him in a loud voice (without shouting): Whether you do not react, as if you are doing it at a high or very high volume, you have to find a way to help.
What do I do if I suspect you are losing hearing?
The first thing to do is don't be alarmed: A deaf dog can continue to live completely normal life. Just have to take him to the vet to confirm the diagnosis, and replace words with gestures. For this it is interesting to understand their body language and use it so that we can communicate in the best possible way.
For your own safety, you never have to walk it without a leash, it could get lost or suffer accidents. Every day we have to give him a lot of love to see that nothing happens, that, yes, he is deaf, but that we want him as he is.
In this way, our friend will feel happy.
Is my dog deaf?
Contrary to what is thought, it is not true that a deaf dog is more violent, more arisco or 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 is happening around him, 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. Similarly, deafness may be unilateral (affects only one ear) or bilateral (affects both ears).
Deafness does not manifest externally, that is, there is nothing in the dog's appearance that reveals the existence of a hearing problem. This is because the ear, which is the outside 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 with the elements outside, and it is these waves that pass through each ear individually and each middle ear until it reaches the inside, where the hearing occurs. When there is deafness, these vibrations cease to be perceived.
What factors can cause deafness in dogs?
Depending on the cause, 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.
Among one of the causes of deafness in dogs is advanced age. As with humans, dogs' bodies deteriorate over the years, and the gradual loss of hearing is one of the elements that evidences 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 head trauma is also a cause of deafness. Otitis, the presence of mites, a foreign object that has been introduced into the cavity, among other factors, would trigger this type of deafness. It is usually reversible, but for this it is necessary to act quickly.
- The distemper, a common disease in dogs and other mammals, can leave an irreversible deafness as a consequence after healing.
- The excessive accumulation of wax prevents the correct addition, because the plug blocks the channel that perceives the external stimuli. This cause, of course, is caused by the lack of hygiene of a careless human. 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 hearing ability of the dog as a side effect, such as certain antibiotics, chemotherapy, some drugs used to cure ear infections and even certain household cleaning products that are transported in the air to the ear.
- Repeated exposure to loud noises, whether severe or acute, impairs the nerves of the ear.
But nevertheless, inheritance is usually the main cause of deafness in dogs. It is related to the lack of pigmentation, so it affects many white dogs. Why? It does not mean that dogs that are naturally light in color are deaf, but it affects those that, different from those of their breed, white predominates as lack of pigmentation. When this occurs, the inside of the ear also undergoes this depigmentation, which causes the internal nerves to deteriorate when the puppy is only a few weeks old. This particularity is not visible externally.
When it comes to inheritance, some races are more likely than others to become deaf, such as the Dalmatian, Bull Terrier, St. 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 earwax, loss of balance and obvious pain .
In the rest of the cases, more than physical symptoms what a deaf dog presents are behavioral changes. If it is an adult, you will notice that little by little it seems ignore your calls or orders, which is simply because you can't hear them. Likewise, it is likely that he will begin to sleep for a greater number of hours because, in general, the dog wakes up at the same time as the rest of the family, so he will be unable to perceive the typical morning noises.
A deaf dog gives the feeling of being disobedient and not be interested in games and interaction with their humans, but the reality is that they do not perceive the calls they make. In addition, in cases of unilateral deafness you will see that, before some sound, the dog turn your head in different directions, trying to detect the origin of it.
In puppies, deafness is also possible, evidenced in games that are aggressive to the human eye, since when the puppy bites hard it does not listen to the pain alerts given, for example, by the human or some brother of the litter. In the same way, the puppy will not respond to his mother's calls to eat, or 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 a few simple tests at home to determine its degree of reaction to the sounds. When the dog is facing away from you, make some sound that doesn't produce vibration, such as turning on the TV, 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 with a veterinarian. If, on the contrary, 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), which is applied by a veterinarian. The test consists of placing a series of electrodes on the dog's head, accompanied by hearing aids in the ears. Before stimuli of sounds sent to the headphones, the level of cerebral response of the dog is studied. The only drawback is that it is an expensive exam and that not all veterinarians are trained to perform them.
However, by observing the signs that we 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. X-rays of the ear, observation of the ears and a study of the animal's medical history, among others, are found in the relevant analyzes.
Is there any treatment for deafness in dogs?
That depend on the factor I have unleashed your dog's deafness. When it is due to an infection, such as otitis, it is possible for the hearing to recover, as long as you take care of the disease on time. Prolonged carelessness can damage your dog's ear forever.
Likewise, when deafness is the product of an earwax plugging, adequate cleaning will be sufficient to return to normal. Once this has happened, we recommend you to be attentive to the hygiene of your dog in all its aspects, especially clean your earsonce a week or every fifteen days maximum.
In the other cases the final result varies, and therefore also the treatment to be applied. The only certainty is that, once deafness has been declared irreversible, there is no medication or treatment that can cure it, nor will it be necessary for you to administer any extra drug to your dog.
What a deaf dog requires is compression and lots of love, in addition to patience. When you approach him, for example, try to always do it head-on, so as not to startle him. If the hearing has not completely atrophied, call the dog using claps or some other serious sound, until it becomes customary to respond to this sound.
Outside the home, it is essential to be extremely careful, since the dog will not be able to detect sounds that warn of approaching dangers. Whenever you go for a walk, put the leash on your dog and do not leave it free in unsafe, crowded places or where you can run and escape. On the other hand, train your dog in the same way you would do with one that can listen, only instead of sounds for commands usesigns and gestures with hand.
As a form of prevention, we also recommend that you put a collar with a plate that not only indicates the name of the dog and your contact information, but also includes the word “Deaf”. Add a rattle to the collar, so it is easy for you to know where the dog is at all times.
Treat your dog with love and patience, play with him and never stop giving him the love he deserves so much. All care for deaf dogs in our article, do not miss it!
This article is purely informative, at ExpertAnimal.com we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Deafness in dogs - Causes, symptoms and treatment, we recommend you go to our Other health problems section.