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Pet Hearing Loss

deaf dog with perked up ears

3 Hand Signals Your Pet Can Learn

Hand signals can be a very effective way to communicate with your pet, whether your furry friend is hard of hearing or you're simply in a noisy place. Spend a few minutes each day teaching your pet these three signals. Don't forget to encourage your pet during the training process with treats.

Sit

Keep your hand flat with your palm facing down. Moving your hand downward slightly to indicate that your pet should sit. Gently pressing on your pet's hindquarters as you give the command may make it easier for your pet to understand what the signal means.

Come

Hold your hand in front of you with your palm facing toward you. Bring your hand toward your body to indicate that you want your pet to come to you.

Good Dog or Cat

Your pet may no longer be able to hear you tell him what a good boy he is, but you can show him with a hand signal. Any signal that you use consistently, such as thumbs up or the okay sign, can help get your point across.

Many of the same health problems that affect us, including hearing loss, also affect our pets. Fortunately, most pets adapt very well to the disability with a little help from their owners.

What Causes Hearing Loss in Pets?

Some pets are born deaf or hard of hearing, while others develop hearing loss at some point in their lives. Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to heavy metals, such as mercury or lead, or may occur after your pet takes certain medications, including chemotherapy drugs, diuretics or antibiotics.

Tumors in the ear canal or brain may be responsible for hearing loss or deafness. Other potential causes include untreated ear infections, hypothyroidism, distemper, injuries or exposure to toxic household products.

Hearing loss may also occur as part of aging. Deterioration of the nerves used in hearing or thickening of the ear canal can gradually reduce your older pet's ability to hear.

Are Some Pets More Likely Than Others to Experience Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is linked to genetics, in some cases. The problem is more likely to occur if the pet has white pigments in its fur. In fact, approximately 80 percent of white cats with two blue eyes will show signs of deafness as early as four days after birth, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. The problem occurs due to degeneration in the cochlea in the inner ear. The cochlea turns vibrations into nerve impulses and sends them to the brain, which interprets the nerve impulses as sounds.

Pigment-related deafness in dogs occurs when blood supply to the cochlea is restricted, causing nerve cell death. Although pigment-related hearing loss can occur in any breed, two genes that cause this type of deafness are more commonly found in certain breeds, such as Great Dane, Collie, Old English and Shetland Sheepdogs, Samoyed, Dalmatian and Bull Terriers, according to Louisiana State University veterinarian Dr. George M. Strain.

What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss in Pets?

If your pet suffers from hearing loss, you may notice one or more of these signs:

  • Your pet no longer comes when called or exhibits other changes in behavior.
  • Your dog or cat doesn't react to loud noises.
  • Your pet can suddenly sleep through anything, even loud thunderstorms.
  • Your cat meows constantly, or your dog barks more than normal.
  • Your pet tilts its head to one side.
  • Your dog or cat doesn't show up the minute you open a can of pet food.

How Can I Help My Pet?

Take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as you notice any signs of deafness. Although treatment is not possible in all cases, if the hearing loss is caused by an inflammation, infection or tumor, medications or surgery may help restore some or all of your pet's hearing.

If the hearing loss is permanent, it will take a little while for you and your pet to adjust to the new situation. Keep your furry friend safe by using a leash during walks. Getting your pet's attention can be a little difficult. Pointing a flashlight or laser near your dog or cat (but away from his or her eyes) can be helpful. In the past, your furry friend may have known that a slamming door meant that you had left the house. If your pet doesn't see you leave and can't find you, he or she may become upset. You can prevent confusion by starting a goodbye ritual that you'll use every time you leave the house.

Are you worried that your pet may be suffering from hearing loss? Call us today to schedule an appointment.


Sources:

PetMD: Hearing Loss in Dogs

http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/ears/c_multi_Deafness?page=show

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Deafness

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/Deafness.cfm

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals: Genetics and Inheritance of Canine Deafness

http://www.ofa.org/deaf_genetics.html

Whole Dog Journal: Training the Hearing Impaired Dog Is Not Difficult, 9/03

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/6_9/features/5570-1.html

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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