View Full Version : Dry Eye & Deafness

26th October 2005, 05:39 PM
My newest addition, Sophie Rose (age 7), a ruby, seems to have chronic dry eye, so everyone's information is helpful as I've never dealt with this problem before. She also seems to be almost totally deaf - she was imported as a pup from London. I've wondered if this is a very common hereditary condition other cavalier moms have seen? We are just working on some general commands - esp. the "it's time for dinner!" She was re-homed with us last summer from a breeder who wasn't going to use her for breeding anymore. It's a great way to find another little one w/out waiting so long (in the US) for a rescue dog. We couldn't love her more in such a short time! :p

26th October 2005, 06:56 PM
SO pleased to hear that Sophie Rose has a lovely forever home with you :D

With regards to the deafness, I use hand signals with my deaf Cavalier. He went deaf at 2 1/4, and we swapped to signals - he learnt very fast and even carried on competing in competitive obedience for a while!

The biggest thing to be aware of is that it is difficult to call them away from danger, such as a road, unless they are facing you and can see your sign. I am very careful where I let him off.

Cavaliers do seem prone to early onset deafness, but then many other breeds and mixed breeds are deaf by the age of 10, but they adapt so quickly that their guardians don't even realise in many cases.

Peaches has dry eye - we use homoeopathic drops three times a day, and a liquid paraffin ointment for lubrication at night. This keeps her comfortable.

Our latest addition - TeddyEdward, also a Ruby, is a retired show dog too, although he is only just 2 now, and we've had him 6 months this week. icon_banana

They really appreciate all the extra love and attention.

26th October 2005, 07:03 PM
Deafness is definitely a breed issue. I am fairly sure my two year old Leo has partial hearing; he definitely has a hard time hearing the direction of a call in contrast to his half brother Leo.

A condition called PSOM is likely to be the cause of deafness in many cavaliers and is actually treatable. here's a link to some more info on this site and in turn a link to a vet journal article that is very informative -- it costs about $12 and is worth getting and printing out for your vet IMHO.


26th October 2005, 07:26 PM
Thanx for all your great replies regarding Sophie's dry eye & deafness. I really had never heard of the Cavalier breed associated with deafness. of course living in our house with (another cavalier) and then an unrulely little Lhaso Apso brother and not being able to hear him bark is a blessing!

I will follow up on the ear article with my vet. He has given us an eye ointment, but I may look into some other alternative medications.

My blenhim girl, Sasha had laryngeal paralysis at age 5, for which she had one side of her throat permanently sutured back. She also had anal glands removed at a young age due to continual problems. I haven't ever heard of another cavalier having laryngeal paralysis - my vet said it usually occurs in working dogs vs. little couch potatoes! I know the closet vet college (Kansas) has said they didn't feel surgery would do much to help, but Sasha is proof (now almost 3 years later) that doing the surgery definitely helped her! Otherwise, I think her throat would've eventually closed permanently and she definitely couldn't take her daily evening walks.

My daughter had major brain surgery about the same time that Sasha had her surgery, so it was quite a year for us! I'm definitely versed in taking care of the "kids".

Rod Russell
26th October 2005, 10:19 PM
I have found from research and personal experience that both dry eye and hereditary deafness are quite common among Cavaliers. Over the past decades we have had Cavaliers with dry eye and who were deaf, and we have Cavaliers right now with dry eye and who are deaf.

Prescribed eye drops or ointments are at least daily necessities for dogs with dry eye. Please follow the vet's instructions and do not miss a day. The dryness condition can cause more serious problems, and the eyes need to be kept lubricated.

A couple of pages from my favorite Cavalier website discuss dry eye and hereditary deafness. They are http://www.cavalierhealth.org/deafness.htm and http://www.cavalierhealth.org/dry_eye.htm

Deaf dogs are a real experience to deal with. In a pack, such as ours, they are able to keep up if they pay attention to what the others are doing. But our current deaf Cavalier is a heavy sleeper, and he sometimes misses out on activities if he has fallen asleep. So, we keep an eye out for him, and if we do not see him, we go back to him and arouse him and motion to him with hand signals. A good website for training owners of deaf dogs is http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/deaf.htm

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

26th October 2005, 10:33 PM
A good point, the ointments and/or drops are really crucial. There's an example of what happens if this is not looked after here:


Poor Grace is now nearly blind and this could have been totally prevented with the kind of treatment you've been prescribed for your girl. Now Grace is on a very costly ointment and when she was taken into rescue, her eyes must have been causing her enormous pain.

29th October 2005, 02:58 PM
Maxx is about 75% deaf too and I agree with the others on here - don't let Sophie off lead anywhere she might come into danger & like Rod I very often have to wake Maxxy up for things!

Cavaliers are very easy to train anyway and I've always used hand signals in conjunction with speech so I'm sure that as Maxx has lost his hearing, it hasn't affected him that much :)

2nd November 2005, 12:46 PM
My Max sufferes from Dry Eye, and his medication must be used daily and costs €30 a tube which lasts a couple of weeks, the desiese of the muscels he had caused his particular problem, but i believe that if u use the treatment for a few months it can clear up.