Other Systems

This is an other system condition.

Early Bilateral Deafness

What is Early Bilateral Deafness?

Hearing loss can be categorized into three groups: age-related, congenital (hearing loss present at birth), and early-onset (neonatally or during puppy or early adulthood). Causes of hearing loss are diverse, with a complex interaction of genetic and environmental components correlated with specific genes. The bilateral form of hearing loss due to this variant in the LOXHD1 gene occurs early in a dog's life. It is supposed that LOXHD1 has an essential role in maintaining normal inner ear (cochlear) hair cell function.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

You may notice your dog no longer responding to sounds like clapping, knocking, doorbells, or the vacuum. The dog may appear to become less obedient by no longer responding to verbal commands or their name. They may bark excessively or become difficult to wake.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Deafness is often noted beginning at four to five months of age. However, owners may observe hearing impairment beginning at a few weeks of age. It is uncertain if this form of hearing loss is early-onset or congenital.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Veterinarians can diagnose hearing disorders by using brainstem auditory-evoked response (BAER) testing to confirm unilateral or bilateral deafness.

How is this condition treated?

There are no widespread treatments. Management is aimed at lifestyle changes, training, and reducing the risk of injury.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

  • Train your affected dog using visual cues (such as hand signals and lights) instead of sounds. New technology, such as gentle vibrating collars, may be beneficial for training.
  • Avoid startling a deaf dog, including when waking the dog. Some deaf dogs may become anxious if they find their owner is suddenly gone. Inform the dog when you leave or enter the house by tapping the dog gently on the back.
  • Never leave a deaf dog outside alone. You may also want to place a bell on the dog's collar so that you may hear the dog if it becomes lost.
  • Put tags on leashes or collars identifying the dog as deaf.
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