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How do you know if your puppy is deaf?

Have you ever wondered how it is like to take care of a deaf puppy?

It is not as laborious you think if you know what you are dealing with in terms of the cause of deafness and extent. Puppies can be deaf in either one or both ears. 

Unfortunately, certain dog breeds are more inclined to developing deafness either at birth or when growing old. Want to know more about this, read on.

This article looks into how to tell if your puppy is deaf.

What causes deafness in puppies?

Photo of Vet Checks Dogs Ear

There are a few reasons that may result in your puppy's deafness.

Congenital deafness

This occurs when a dog inherits the defect through DNA, or the inner ear gets an infection soon after birth. The inherited kind roots from a defect in the gene, and it then becomes the dominant, recessive, or sex-linked.

It may involve one or several genes. Dogs predisposed to congenital disabilities include Dalmatians, Jack Russell terriers, and any other breed with white coat or merle.

Chronic ear infection

These may be infections from viruses, bacteria, or fungi that can eat on the inner ear parts and lead to deafness.

Such cases mostly occur in one ear and may become fatal if the infection spreads further into the brain and other head parts. If not caught on time, chronic ear infections may lead to the death of the dog.

Head injury

Dogs might incur injury from either being hit by moving objects or bumping into a stationary one. And when this happens, you should take the dog to a vet immediately.

The impact might cause issues in the ear canal, which may result in partial or complete deafness. If Insects get inside the ear, they might also hurt the inner membrane leading to deafness.

Drug toxicity

Some ingested harmful drugs might cause partial or complete deafness in dogs, and that is why you must always be aware of your dog's whereabouts every time.

You must keep them away from medicines meant for humans and away from poisonous plants that may introduce toxins get into the body.

Degenerative nerve damage

Also known as Canninie DegenerativeMyelopathy, it occurs when the dog's spine gets degenerated, and the hind limbs start becoming weaker.

The white matter found in the animal's spinal cord is the one that gets affected, affecting the nerve interconnectivity. Pugs are one of the species most likely to get this condition.

This nerve condition is gradual, and you may not realize until it is too late. Deafness is one of the side effects of this disease.

Old age

Photo of Senior Dog Lying

Just like human beings, old dogs experience a gradual deterioration of their senses. Eyesight and hearing are perhaps the most affected, and so a senior dog might become deaf in the later stages of their lives.

Although it is not a guarantee, most older dogs register reduced alertness to sounds. Indeed they may still be able to hear high pitched sounds, but their reactions might be a bit slower.

Deafness caused by old age is progressive and happens over some time. It is not a one-time thing.

How to Tell If Your Puppy is Deaf?

The first thing you will notice about a completely deaf puppy is that they do not respond to their name or a loud noise. But you cannot confirm the extent until you book an appointment with a vet to do an evaluation test.

But before you get to that, how to tell if your puppy is deaf while at home is through the following test theories. If you suspect deafness, try them and record the results to present to the vet.

When you wake up, does your puppy wake up with you? If they do, they are probably okay, but if your puppy stays asleep while you get up, they might be deaf.

When you are out of their field of vision and call their name or make a noise, do they respond in any way?

If a dog is partially deaf and you make noise on the hearing side, they will react. But if you make the sound on the deaf side, they will not respond. If they are completely deaf, you will not see any response.

Dogs are very light sleepers, so is your puppy always deep asleep? If they are, then they are probably deaf. And when they wake up, are they startled? If they are, then they might be deaf.

Now, if most of those answers are affirmative, then visit a vet who will carry out a test known as the BEAR test, which takes five minutes.

The BEAR test is called the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response test in full. This examination looks at all the areas on the ear and checks if they are structurally okay, and their functioning is to par.

It looks at the external, internal ear, the canal, middle and inner cavity, the cranial nerve, and the brainstem areas responsible for hearing. It evaluates if the sound gets received by the brain as it should.

The BEAR test is also used for checking on the extent of the hearing loss. How to know if your puppy is deaf is confirmed after this test.

Are there any cures?

Photo of Owner Cleaning Dogs Ears

Curing of deafness in puppies will depend on the root cause of the deafness. If it is congenital and the genes are involved, nothing much can be done, and the owners have to adjust to living with the deaf dog.

If the case is caused by either an infection or injury and the damage is caught earlier before it became fatal, the hearing might be regained with medication. In the cases of viral, fungi, or bacterial infections, antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibiotics are used respectively.

Adjusting to a deaf puppies lifestyle

Now, assuming that the deafness of your pup cannot be reversed, then you might have to adjust your lifestyle to accommodate your dog.

Below are some of the things that can help you lead a pretty everyday life with your deaf puppy.

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