Unilateral Deafness and Vestibular Syndrome

other system

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.

  • Signs and symptoms

    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.

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

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  • Diagnosis

    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.

  • Treatment

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

  • What to do if your dog is at risk


    • 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.

  • Genetic Information

    This variant was identified in one affected Doberman puppy exhibiting unilateral deafness and vestibular signs.

    This variant is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, meaning a dog must have two copies of the variant to be affected by it.

    Gene names:

    PTPRQ Exon 39 ‐ chr

    Inheritance type:


  • Breeds affected

    This health condition affects the following breeds

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