If you have ever experienced an ear infection or water in your ears after showering, you probably understand what it is like to experience some degree of hearing loss. Being unable to hear things clearly can be confusing and disorientating at best, and can significantly impact your ability to function normally. Unfortunately, hearing loss is a very common problem in humans, and is something that is just as likely to affect your canine companion at some point during his lifetime.
Hearing loss, also referred to as deafness, is characterized by the affected person or animal being unable to hear properly. The hearing loss may be temporary, partial or full and caused by a variety of different things.
Many cases of canine deafness are hereditary or the result of a birth defect. In these instances, the affected dog will have hearing problems pretty much as soon as they are born. However, sometimes hearing problems develop part way during your pet’s lifetime. Some of the most common causes of hearing loss in dogs past infancy include:
- Trauma to the ear
- Blocked ear canal
- Wax accumulation
- Advancing age
Thankfully, many of the causes of canine deafness can be treated. This means that at least some of your pet’s hearing should be able to be restored.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine if your furbaby is experiencing hearing loss. Unable to tell you himself, he will be completely reliant on you identifying the signals that he gives you to tell you that he is having trouble with hearing. Some of the most common signs that your canine companion may be having hearing problems include lack of response to things such as:
- Doorbell / door knock
- Squeaky toys
- Clapping or snapping fingers
- Their name
- Other dogs barking
They may also appear to be startled when you wake them, may be difficult to wake and may bark excessively.
If you suspect that your dog may be losing his hearing, then you will need to seek the advice of the veterinarian of Manson Veterinary Clinic. At your pet’s appointment, our vet will conduct a physical examination of your furry friend, as well as speaking to you about the symptoms that you have noticed. If your veterinarian suspects that infection may to be blame for the hearing loss, swabs may be taken and sent off the lab so that the strain of infection can be identified and properly treated.
Other common diagnostic tests include radiographs and a brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test. Once the cause of your pet’s deafness has been established, our vet will then be able to make a recommendation as to what treatment, if any, is necessary.
If your canine companion is diagnosed with permanent hearing loss, he will require special care in the future. Your dog will not be able to respond to his name being called, and so you should never let him off the leash outside. This is because he may not be able to hear warning sounds and respond appropriately, and he may not return to you or be able to locate you when you are calling him. Deaf dogs are well known for getting lost, so ensure that you have your furbaby microchipped and equipped with a collar with your contact information on.
You will also need to adapt the way in which you communicate your dog, and you may need to rely on hand signals and physical touch to get his attention and issue instructions. During this time, you will both be learning from each other, so it is important to be patient and give him lots of treats, love and attention to praise him for his efforts. Contact Manson Veterinary Clinic's veterinarian for more information you deserve to know.