The concept of deafness is the same for humans and dogs. The deaf dogs are those who cannot listen to your commands. There are several reasons for the deafness in dogs. Dogs could be deaf by birth, and dogs sometimes develop deafness during growing or old age due to various reasons. All dog lovers and pet parents are curious about deaf dogs, and there are many questions in their minds. One of the most asked questions is; do deaf dogs have more health problems?
Deafness is not linked with any specific disease. The dogs that are deaf are generally no more or less healthy than the other normal dogs. However, predominantly white dogs are more prone to deafness, and also they are more prone to sunburn too. It is the only link between the deafness of dogs and disease. Moreover, in old age, dogs become victims of many diseases along with deafness, which is a normal process. Some deaf dogs develop aggressive behavior, but it cannot be tagged as a disease.
So, we could say that the relationship between deafness and diseases is merely a myth. In this article, we will discuss more assumptions related to the health of deaf dogs. If you have a deaf dog or planning to adopt one, and you want to be a caring pet parent, then make sure to read the article to full length.
Do Deaf Dogs have any Special Health concerns?
I heard a saying that a dog doesn’t care that you are poor or rich, educated or illiterate, dull or intelligent, give him your heart, and he will give you his. In the same way, several pet owners don’t care whether the dog is deaf or hearing. They love both in the same way. In fact, deaf dogs are the same as normal dogs anyway. Deaf dogs share our lives, the same as normal dogs, and they are equally special. But unfortunately, there are a lot of myths related to the health of deaf dogs.
These myths are misleading. Due to these myths, people become reluctant to adopt deaf dogs. So in this article, we will discuss the misleading health concerns of deaf dogs.
Types of Deafness in dogs and their Causes
Deafness in dogs could be of different types and frequencies. Some dogs are partially deaf. Partially deaf dogs become deaf to some frequency while they can hear all other frequencies. And some dogs are really deaf. They are the dogs who are unable to hear any frequency.
As I have mentioned that some dogs are deaf by birth, it is also called congenital deafness. The concept of congenital deafness in dogs is the same as in humans. Congenital deafness is due to multiple defects. It could be due to recessive or dominant mutations. According to researchers, congenital deafness is related to body pigment.
Any dog breed of light or white color is predisposed to deafness. However, this criteria or association is not infallible because not all white dogs are deaf, and not all deaf dogs are white.
Congenital Deafness in dogs
Congenital deafness could be of two types:
- Congenitally acquired deafness
- Hereditary deafness
Congenitally Acquired Deafness
Congenitally acquired deafness is not much common in dogs. This type of deafness is the result of in utero infection during pregnancy. Usage of multiple antibiotics during the pregnancy can also cause acquired deafness in puppies. That’s why always asks the veterinarian before using any antibiotics in a pregnant bitch.
The term is pretty clear. It is a type of deafness that the puppies adopt from their parents. This type of deafness is most common in white breed dogs. There are almost 80 breeds of dogs that have been affected by congenital deafness. The most common breeds include:
- English setter
Until now, there is no reported treatment of congenital deafness. At the same time, congenital deafness is not linked with any other diseases. Congenitally deaf dogs are the same as thermal dogs. They live a healthy life with their pet parents. However, there is evidence that the white dogs that are congenitally deaf are more prone to sunburn. But I don’t think sunburn is a potential disease. You can avoid it simply by doing proper care.
Diagnosis of the congenital deafness
Congenital deafness is a bit difficult to diagnose without a veterinarian. As puppies follow each other in the early days of life, it becomes difficult to diagnose, which puppy is responding to command and which is not.
If your dog is among the breeds at high risk of developing congenital deafness, it is crucial to go for the proper testing after some time.
The veterinarian may suggest an x-ray or urinalysis for confirmation. Otherwise, you can check the vital signs of deafness. The most common signs and symptoms of deafness include:
- Ignoring noisy and squatty toys
- Deep- sleep as compared to other puppies (read our article about the sleeping schedule of deaf dogs)
- Lack of activities
- Unresponsiveness to commands
- Jerky motion when touched while sleeping
- Distortion and confusion
- Sometimes congenitally deaf puppies also show aggressive behavior
Now let’s talk about acquired deafness.
Acquired Deafness in dogs
Acquired deafness is a kind of deafness that a dog develops during a stage of its life. It could be permanent or temporary.
Temporary deafness could be of the transient period, and it is treatable with medication or surgical procedure. The most common cause of temporary deafness in dogs is a mild trauma, ear infection (otitis externa), uncleanliness of ears. In this type of deafness, dogs become deaf partially, or completely.
But the good thing about this deafness is that it is treatable with care and proper treatment. In most cases, proper grooming and cleaning can prevent this temporary acquired deafness. The sign of temporary acquired deafness is the same as congenital deafness.
Until now, no evidence could prove that temporarily deaf dogs have more health issues. All the dogs that develop deafness during any stage of their life live a sound life.
Now let’s discuss the most common type of deafness in dogs, the permanent acquired deafness in dogs, and let’s see do permanent deaf dogs have any other health concerns?
Do Deaf Dogs have more Health concerns?
There could be several reasons for permanent acquired deafness in dogs. The most common cause is the trauma or injury to the portion of the temporal bone that surrounds the inner ear. Antibiotic toxicity to the ear, inappropriate anesthesia, any tumor of the ear, severe ear infection, a parasitic infection, and degeneration of the cochlea (commonly found in senior dogs) also cause permanent deafness in dogs.
- The first and foremost sign of acquired deafness is that dogs start to ignore the commands.
- Dogs show a startle and sudden reflex when you suddenly approach them or wake them up.
- Shaking of the head.
- More deep sleep.
- In case of infection to the ear, dogs mostly rub their ears.
- In the case of old age, deaf dogs slowly start to ignore the command. And then stop responding to commands eventually.
All the reasons for acquired deafness could affect both or one of the ears. The deafness of the one ear is even difficult to diagnose. Yet, many advanced procedures are available in medical science that can accurately diagnose the type and severity of deafness.
To check the permanent deafness, doctors mostly suggest the brainstem auditory evoked test (BAER). BAER is the gold standard test to check deafness. Other than this veterinarians also recommend several self-tests, ultrasound, X-ray, and CT scans to check the real cause of the deafness.
Now, let’s discuss the most important thing, does permanent deafness in dogs invite any other disease? The simple answer is no. You might have seen a lot of pet parents telling you that their dogs develop deafness and any other disease simultaneously.
But before linking any disease with deafness, there are many things to consider. For example, if your dog has developed deafness due to an accident, and after that, you have started to see the signs of vomiting, improper digestion, inappropriate, loss of concentration sign, then your dog may have got a liver injury during the accidents.
These signs, symptoms, or diseases that you see developing in your dogs with deafness have nothing to do with deafness. There could be many other similar conditions.
A common thing is seen in the senior dogs, that they become a victim of many diseases when they develop old age deafness. Well, isn’t it the same as in humans? It is natural that in old age the immune system becomes weak. And we and our four-footed friend, become prone to diseases along with deafness.
Now I think it is clear to all the readers that deafness in the dogs doesn’t invite any other potential diseases, or In other words, you can say that the deaf dogs don’t have more health problems. However, there could be different behavioral conditions in deaf dogs, but you cannot tag them as disease or health issues.
Deaf dogs are as cute and healthy as other dogs. Unfortunately, they cannot hear like the other dogs, but they can love you more than normal dogs. And they can be your best partners. Unfortunately, there is a circle of myths around deaf dogs that misleads people. Deaf dog education action funds have discussed many misleading myths about deaf dogs.
A lot of people have concerns about the health of deaf dogs. They thought that deaf dogs have more health problems. But it is merely a misleading myth. I have tried to explain that there is not any association between the health risk and deafness.
Now, I think all readers will never associate any of the diseases with deafness. Deaf dogs are the same as normal dogs. They also deserve all the love and care. I think we should all come forward to give a happy life to all the dogs. And we could take steps to decrease the increasing number of dogs in shelter homes by adopting them.