Deafness In Dogs: What Breed Of Dog Is Often Deaf?
The deafness in dogs is caused by different causes. There are several types of deafness in dogs. Some of them are inherited, while others are due to other factors such as trauma or infection. These types of deafness may cause some symptoms and signs only at certain times or not at all. For example, if your dog was born with no hearing at all, it will never develop any signs or symptoms of deafness. However, if he/she gets shot during hunting season then the deafness may manifest itself later on.
Some dogs have been known to go deaf overnight without even being touched by anything. They become completely silent and they don’t react when their owners approach them. Other dogs show signs of hearing loss after getting hit by bullets but before going blind from blood loss.
There are many reasons why deafness occurs in dogs. One of the most common ones is due to a genetic defect called spina bifida. Another reason could be due to trauma or infection. Infection can occur through bite wounds, bites from other animals, infections in the mouth or throat, and from parasites like tapeworms.
Other causes of deafness include tumors (brain tumors), tumors (heart tumors) and disorders of the inner ears (otolith dysfunction). Viruses, specifically the degenerative ones, have been known to attack the nerves of the inner ear and damage hearing as well. Other causes can be meningitis, exposure to loud noises, parasites in the ears, low blood sugar, excess calcium in the system, poisoning and some types of medications.
There are also non-medical reasons for why dogs become deaf such as age-related hearing loss and congenital deafness. Age-related hearing loss can occur in dogs as young as four years old. Congenital deafness is a defect that is present at birth.
Deafness In Dogs: What Are The Symptoms?
Some signs and symptoms of deafness in dogs are very clear. These include:
1. Difficulty hearing horns honking, alarms ringing and telephones ringing.
2. Difficulty responding to verbal commands.
3. Difficulty responding to other loud noises.
4. Does not react to the noises of children playing or other loud activities.
Other deaf dogs may not always show these signs. They learn to compensate quite well for their hearing loss. Other signs your dog may show are scratching its ears a lot, tilting its head when you call its name, and not responding to a knock at the door. Sometimes a wagging tail does not necessarily mean that the dog can hear.
It could mean that it feels air movement or that it sees your waving hand.
Deafness In Dogs: How Is It Diagnosed?
In order to get a proper diagnosis of deafness in dogs, many tests must be performed. The veterinarian may do a complete examination including a check up of the ears. A common test for hearing is the ability to respond to a sharp noise (clicking the tongue, snapping the fingers, dropping a pencil on the floor). The animal should respond to this. A vibrating device can also be used to test hearing. Anesthesia may be required in order for the veterinarian to inspect the ears internally. This is especially true for wax buildup. These tests should reveal any physical problems that cause deafness.
Once medical problems have been ruled out, the veterinarian may perform a diagnostic test of hearing. This can be done by placing a vibrating device under water and seeing if the dog reacts to it. This is to rule out the possibility that the problem is excessive earwax or an infection. If that test is passed, then it is assumed that the dog’s hearing loss is due to noise trauma or some other form of age-related hearing loss.
Deafness In Dogs: Treatment
The treatment for deafness will vary depending upon what has caused it. If the dog is deaf due to age-related hearing loss, there really isn’t much that can be done other than to make sure it does not get startled by unexpected noises.
If the dog is deaf due to excessive earwax, an antibiotic such as Clotrimazole will be used to treat the infection. This will usually be given for about a week.
Deafness due to infection or noise trauma usually involves surgery. The veterinarian will cut into the ear and remove the inner ear tissue that is damaged. This tissue will be sent to a lab to be biopsied to determine the exact cause of the hearing loss. After this procedure, the dog’s hearing should gradually return.
As you can see, there are several potential causes for deafness in dogs and each case must be handled accordingly. If you notice that your dog is not responding to loud noises, contact your veterinarian right away. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent and the sooner it is addressed, the more successful any treatment will be.
Read our article on How to Help a Deaf Dog for additional information.
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Deafness in Dogs
Deafness in Dogs: Learn how to detect and help deafness in dogs. Deafness is treatable in most cases.
Deaf Dog Syndrome: Learn about the unique needs of deaf dogs.
Hearing Loss: Learn about the most common form of hearing loss in dogs and how it is treated.
Hyperacusis: This is an intolerance to loud noises and is more common in dogs than people think.
Albinism: A genetic condition in which the animal is born without pigmentation.
Hypothyroidism: Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
Thyroid Disease: The thyroid gland and it’s importance to your pet. A common disorder.
Diabetes: Learn all about this common endocrine disease in pets including how it’s diagnosed and treated.
Addison’s Disease: Learn all about this debilitating disease and how it’s treated.
Cushing’s Disease: A disorder of the endocrine system caused by the excessive production of the hormone cortisol in the body.
Seizure Disorders: Seizures can have many causes in pets including poisons, toxins and other diseases.
Feline Asthma: Learn about this breathing disorder specific to cats.
Congenital Laryngeal paralysis: A birth defect of the larynx (voicebox) that affects the ability of a dog to bark normally or at all.
Pancreatitis: This disease causes the pancreas to become inflamed and can lead to a number of serious complications.
Renal Failure: Learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment of this life-threatening condition.
Addison’s Disease in Dogs: A common endocrine disorder.
FIV: Feline Aids or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
FIP: Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
Kidney Failure: Learn the causes, symptoms and treatment of this life-threatening condition.
Diabetes Insipidus: A disorder of the body’s ability to process fluids and can be caused by a number of factors.
Hypercalcemia: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.
Metabolic Bone Disease: Also known as MBD, this refers to a number of disorders of the skeletal system.
Bladder Stones: Causes, symptoms and treatment options.
Swimmer Cat Disease: Otherwise known as Acute Pulmonary Edema, this is a recently discovered feline disease.
Cancer: This disease can affect cats in many different ways.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis: An often fatal virus that attacks the internal organs.
Feline Leukemia: This is a type of Feline Viral Enteritis and a relatively common killer of cats.
Kidney Disease: The kidneys perform a number of vital bodily functions and any disease affecting them can be life-threatening.
Testicular Cancer: One of the more common types of cancers in dogs.
Uterine Cancer: A type of cancer that forms in the uterus. It is the most common tumor to occur in female dogs.
Orbital Tumor: This is a rare cancer that forms in the eye socket.
Mast Cell Tumor: This type of tumor affects the skin and flairs up when the animal becomes stressed.
Bone Cancer: Although rare, this type of cancer can occur in any bone in the body.
Cervical Cancer: Cervical refers to the neck region of the uterus.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Tissues are the various types of flesh in the body. There are many types of sarcomas.
Lymphoma: Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell and lymphoma affects this type of infection fighting cells.
Hemangiosarcoma: A type of tumor that forms in the blood vessels.
Hepatic Tumor: A tumor that forms in the liver.
Hepatoblastoma: A rare liver cancer that primarily occurs in children.
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor: This type of tumor forms inside the stomach or intestines.
Feline Infectious Anemia: This disease attacks the immune system and can be spread by biting.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: This condition prevents proper digestion of food.
Renal Nephritis: A type of inflammation in the kidney.
Thyroid Cancer: A cancer that forms in the thyroid gland.
Uterine Tumor: Although rare, tumors can form in the uterus.
Miscellaneous Tumors: These growths occur in various locations in the body and are not limited to a particular organ or system.
Zinc Deficiency: Learn about this common mineral deficiency and the symptoms of a lack of it in the body.
Yeast Infection: Also known as Candidiasis, this fungal infection is very common in both humans and animals.
Cat Scratch Disease: Although rare, this disease can be fatal if not treated correctly.
Heartworm: This parasite affects the heart and lungs of dogs.
Keratitis: This condition involves the cornea, which is the clear covering over the eye.
Uveitis: A type of eye inflammation that affects the middle layer of the eye.
Cataract: Opacity develops in the lens of the eye.
Glaucoma: An increase in pressure occurs inside the eye.
Pneumonia: Inflammation of the lungs prevents proper breathing.
Colic: Abdominal pain prevents rest and relaxation.
Diarrhea: The frequent passing of loose, unformed stools.
Urinary Tract Infection: A common type of infection involving the urinary system, which includes the kidneys and bladder.
Hemolytic Anemia: The destruction of red blood cells reduces the amount of oxygen transported to the body’s tissues.
Thrombocytopenia: A rare platelet deficiency that prevents blood from clotting.
Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas prevents proper digestion of food.
Megaesophagus: A rare condition in which the food tube does not contract correctly and food is unable to pass into the stomach.
Diabetes: Insufficient production of insulin causes the body to be unable to process sugar.
FIV: Feline AIDs is a slow virus that attacks the immune system and causes immunodeficiency.
Cystinuria: A rare kidney disease that causes the formation of cystine stones in the kidneys, bladder or ureters.
Pregnancy Toxemia: Also known as morning sickness, this condition can be very harmful to both mom and baby.
Retinal Dysplasia: A congenital eye disorder causing impaired vision.
Von Willebrand’s Disease: A rare condition in which blood does not properly clot due to a lack of von Willebrand’s factor.
Necrotizing Arteritis: A rare condition in which there is a loss of skin and tissue blood supply due to a bacterial infection of the blood vessel walls.
Feline Leukemia: A type of cancer that specifically attacks blood forming cells and is transmissible from cat to cat.
Glomerulonephritis: A rare type of kidney disease that causes inflammation of the glomeruli.
Periodontal Disease: Inflammation and infection of the gums prevents teeth from fitting closely together.
Seborrhea: Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin condition with an appearance similar to dandruff.
Gingivitis: A common gum disease involving the formation of tartar and bleeding of the gums.
Addison’s Disease: A rare condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones.
Viral Rhinotracheitis: A viral infection causing inflammation of the upper respiratory tract.
Umbilical Hernia: A type of hernia that involves both layers of the abdominal wall coming through the navel orifice.
Pneumothorax: A condition that involves the presence of air in the pleural space, which is the space between the lungs and chest.
Hepatitis: A liver infection caused by a virus, toxin or bacteria.
Osteochondrosis Dissecans: A condition that involves joint misalignment, possible fragmentation of cartilage and bleeding of the joints.
This site is in no way intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content within this site should be considered for entertainment purposes only. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Aetiology, prevalence and diagnosis of deafness in dogs and cats (GM Strain – British Veterinary Journal, 1996 – Elsevier)
- Deafness in dogs and cats (GM Strain – 2011 – books.google.com)
- Congenital sensorineural deafness in dogs: a molecular genetic approach toward unravelling the responsible genes (SG Rak, O Distl – The Veterinary Journal, 2005 – Elsevier)
- Congenital deafness in dogs and cats (GM Strain – Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet, 1991 – researchgate.net)