Other Systems

This is an other system condition.

Unilateral Deafness and Vestibular Syndrome

What is Unilateral Deafness and Vestibular Syndrome?

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. This disease affects the hearing and balance mechanisms of the inner ear.

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

Affected puppies exhibit signs of vestibular disease, such as mild head tilt and poor balance; these signs can often progress with age. With unilateral disease, signs of deafness may not be easily observed. Signs of hearing loss can include not responding to sounds like clapping, knocking, doorbells, or the vacuum, appearing to be non-obedient by not responding to verbal commands or their name, barking excessively, and difficulty waking.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Early-onset vestibular dysfunction becomes apparent as the puppy first begins to move about.

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. Genetic testing and clinical signs can also be used to help diagnose this disease.

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?

  • Teaching your dog visual commands will help you communicate.
  • You should avoid startling deaf dogs and gently inform the dog when you leave or enter the house by tapping it softly on the back near the tail.
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