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Thread: Going deaf?

  1. #1
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    Default Going deaf?

    I'm beginning to wonder if my 6 year old black and tan female, Riley, is going deaf. She has SM and had decompression surgery in June. She's doing well post-operatively other than some residual vestibular problems she had prior to surgery. Recently, her recall has not been as consistent as it used to be. I thought she was just ignoring me so I went back to work on recall using treats and praise. But this morning I noticed that when she is far away from me in the yard or behind some bushes and can't see me, she won't come or even react to me when I call her. When she's closer to me, she'll come readily. She has no problem hearing me in the house or responding to my voice when I'm with her or in the next room. Is this how deafness usually starts - that they can't hear from far away? She has an appointment with her neurologist tomorrow morning and I will ask him about it, but I thought I'd just see what other people have experienced. Thanks!
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

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    Deafness is common in the breed. Many of them have PSOM -- like glue ear -- this would have shown on her MRI. Others simply become deaf. My Lucy who MRId clear of PSOM is almost totally deaf now at 9 but was fairly deaf by age 7.

    Be sure to always keep her on a lead wherever you go now -- it is very risky to ever let a deaf dog offlead. I use a flexi so Lucy can run around at the park (never for street walks as they can be dangerous -- hard to control and don;t always fully lock).

    I also have a second tag on Lucy that says "I am deaf. If you find me please put me on a lead and call my owner."
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  3. #3
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    How big is your house? How noisy is it outside? If your house is smallish/normal sized, she may be coming to you because the acoustics make it easier for her to hear if there is a hearing loss. Plus, as you've pointed out, she's responding more reliably when you're in sight.

    One thing I would try: test the boundaries of her hearing with one of those high frequency dog whistles. Generally, high frequencies are the first to go, so if she gives no indication of hearing that then it could be sign of hearing loss. And yes, distance is a major factor. For example if you're wearing a hearing aid, you often find that the efficacy of the aid drops after ONE METRE. So if she's at the other end of the garden and has any loss at all, then it's quite possible she won't hear you.

    Of course, she could just be ignoring you!
    Holly - 7years
    Amber- 3 years

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your replies. We saw Riley's neurologist today and he confirmed that she did not have PSOM - at least when she had her MRI in June, so he doubted that was an issue now. Her ears looked good. The vestibular center is near the hearing center in dogs (maybe in people too - don't know) so he suggested that because she has had so much damage to her vestibular system from the SM, that maybe her hearing was affected too. He also said that she may just be going deaf. I will keep her on a lead all the time now as Karlin suggested, although it will be hard once the snow and freezing weather comes.

    I might try the high frequency whistle. Thanks for that suggestion Lisa. Our house is fairly large, but is a ranch and Riley is rarely more than one room away from me. I also have most of the bedroom doors closed because of Oz, my 15 month old. He is definitely a trouble-maker, especially with toilet paper rolls! Our yard is just over an acre, so if Riley is at one end, and behind some of the bushes, she is fairly far away from me. It is pretty quiet around here though. WE live at the end of a dead end street, but there are always the usual outdoor noises.

    I hate the thought that she might have to deal with deafness in addition to SM. She's been through so much. And this is a dog who lives to please. I know the majority of cavaliers are like that, but some - like my Oz- still have a little of the devil in him! Riley never had any devil in her. Maybe because she has been suffering from SM most of her life. Thanks for the advice and if anyone else has advice on living with a deaf dog, PLEASE let me know.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

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    Hi Bev, Sorry you're going through this. If she is going deaf, it is usually progressive so she will get "used" to it and will continue to lead a normal life. I have a completely deaf Cavalier and she gets along just fine. I just have to be careful not to come up too quickly behind her and give her a startle!
    Trisha in Southwest Florida
    Cavaliers: Casey, Ollie, & Winston and usually a foster or two! Cats: Pebbles & Benson

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    My Luke just turned 6 years old last month and he is deaf. I don't know when it happened, but I just figured it out this past August.
    Charleen and Cav's: Pippin (ruby male), Merry (b&t female), Luke (blenheim male) & Jolly (tri male puppy)

  7. #7
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    My rescue cav is deaf. We have now had her for 2 1/2 years.
    We live in the heart of the countryside and, for the first year, I walked her over the fields on a 100ft training lead, then she could not get lost and could run as much as she liked. She gradually learned handsignals, and learnt to realise when to turn round to keep a check on me.
    She now runs free over all the fields and soon realises if she is going a different way to me!
    I do have to wait for her to look up, and if she has found a really interesting smell, I have to walk back towards her until she realises.
    She is obviously walked on a lead if I am unsure of anything.
    The sad thing is that she will never hear a kind word spoken to her again, but we make up for this with loads of loving cuddles and smoothings!
    However, my OH thinkgs that she is fooling us, as she always knows when he is opening the biscuit tin!!!!!

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    We figure ollies deff too..you could be standing behind him and he wont hear you.
    might even jump if you pet him and he dosnt know your in the room.
    its too bad too..because he dosn't like being left alone, so we often could be in the other room and he can't hear us..and thinks hes alone and hte 'owe owe owe owe oweeeee' starts up

    I think it is common in this breed..although im not sure why.
    Oliver and Max and Meeko man, i will meet you at the Rainbow bridge. I love you all. Miss you more then you'll ever know.
    wait for me...
    Chelsea

  9. #9
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    Chelsea,

    How old is Ollie and when did you notice he was getting deaf?
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  10. #10
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    I have found that having a deaf dog makes her more responsive to me- since they rely so heavily on sight signals, Casey is always looking up at me to see what she is supposed to be doing. However, when she's in the yard and I need her to come in, I have to walk over to her, tap her on the back and then give the signal.

    I started noticing she wasn't hearing at around 2 YO. Although by the time I noticed, I think she was already pretty much deaf.
    Trisha in Southwest Florida
    Cavaliers: Casey, Ollie, & Winston and usually a foster or two! Cats: Pebbles & Benson

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