23rd August 2014, 12:56 PM
Sudden hearing loss
Over the past week, my husband and I have noticed that Sophie's hearing has gone. She doesn't hear normal voice volume; only loud noises. Sophie isn't quite six years old, so it's not old-age-related deafness.
She has no PSOM symptoms listed at cavalierhealth.org and otherwise is a very happy, healthy dog.
Sophie had an excellent health check-up back in June.
So, I am relying on the collective wisdom here at CavalierTalk. Hubby wants me to take her to the vet for an exam. Outside of the inconvenience of having a deaf dog at such a young age, what could a veterinarian do for it?
23rd August 2014, 01:39 PM
Based upon her age, this sounds like a case of progressive hearing loss. It probably was not as rapid as you think. See http://www.cavalierhealth.org/deafness.htm
Is she your only dog?
23rd August 2014, 02:04 PM
Yes, she is our only dog. I read that page when reading about PSOM, and told my husband last night how the BAER test doesn't cover the human voice level. This is why I doubt it's worth having her examined. I've also thought this might be the/one of the reasons her breeder has stopped breeding (she can no longer be found).
23rd August 2014, 08:00 PM
My Oliver started to go seriously deaf at the age of 6; a BAER test confirmed that he was very deaf on one side - so, for example, if that side was uppermost when he slept he wouldn't hear me coming into the room. Another test 2 years later showed that he couldn't hear anything below 9 decibels, so effectively he is totally deaf unless I really yell at him. He obeys hand signals for come, go down, wait and other basics, and can sometimes get disoriented if he loses sight of me when off-lead on a walk, so I need to keep a sharp eye on him, but otherwise his deafness seems to make little difference - though it does deprive a dog of one of their major ways of experiencing the world, and as I can no longer talk to Oliver I try to handle him more so that we still contact each other. This sort of progressive hearing loss seems to be common in Cavaliers, but I don't think it is hereditary, so I wouldn't think it had anything to do with your dog's breeder giving up.
Kate, Oliver (now 13) and Aled
24th August 2014, 12:16 AM
I think maybe you should get a second one. Deaf dogs get essential information from the non-deaf ones. We've had enough deaf cavaliers to know to start training hand signals to all our cavaliers when they are puppies. I competed a deaf cavalier in agility trials without saying a word out loud to him. It was eerie to many spectators because handlers tend to be shouting at their dogs the entire time they are in the ring. I finally had to start talking to him anyway, because apparently in the AKC, deafness is a disqualifier for agility, and the judges were getting suspicious. So I would shout out commands like "left" and "right" just before I knew he was going to go left or right anyway, and after my runs I would be asked how I taught him those commands.
Originally Posted by waldor
24th August 2014, 08:54 AM
Sadly Cavaliers do seem to suffer with early onset deafness. Mostly they cope incredibly well, and easily switch to hand signals for commands. Obviously you have to be aware of any dangers when you are out and about, but hopefully there are places where Sophie could still enjoy some off lead exercise?
You could get her BAER tested, but I suspect it will only confirm what you already know...
It is with getting the vet to check inside her ears, just to make sure there isn't something like a build up of wax causing hearing difficulties.
If they have a doggie companion, that can be very helpful, as Rod says, they can build a very special bind and the hearing dog is a great support to the deaf dog. However I'm not sure it's sufficient justification for adding to the family, unless you were already thinking of doing that anyway.
You will probably find that Sophie wants more physical contact with you.
24th August 2014, 05:14 PM
24th August 2014, 07:06 PM
Karlin and Rod - Yes, you are correct that this did not happen overnight. In talking with my husband, we think it has happened over the past several weeks, but with a profound sudden progression in the past week. We both compared notes, and definitely in the past week we have both noticed no response to calling her, etc.
Sophie is never, ever off lead outdoors, so no worries there. I will have to tell her boarding kennel, as she joins their daycare/day school while boarding there.
Another question --- can this have an emotional impact on a dog? Today (and never before today), Sophie has been very clingy. Stuck to my side. Not letting me get out of her sight. She even tried to slip out the door with us (something she has never done!) when we were going to church this morning. I had to stop her.
Her demeanor and behavior today make me think that SHE has finally realized something is wrong, and that she's disturbed by it. I've not done anything differently with my behavior, so I doubt I've triggered anything. I just wonder if she has finally noticed and is worried.
24th August 2014, 07:15 PM
Sophie knows a few hand signals when she was obedience trained. Looks like she will be learning a few more. Yesterday, I found that site you linked, via the cavalierhealth.org site. I"ve already ordered two books on the topic, since we'll be living with a deaf Sophie for many years.
Karlin - you mention one of your dogs had PSOM but no symptoms? Did you have it treated?
25th August 2014, 10:32 AM
Oliver too tends to ask for more hands on contact, though this is partly that he is now old. I'm not sure that this is worry - perhaps a more practical response that they are going to have to rely more on humans to make up the deficiency caused by loss of hearing, and that they miss the contact provided by us talking to them. Oliver has always been a very independent dog and his deafness really made very little difference until the last two years or so - and he will still see my 'come' signal and turn away so that he can't see it, in order to sniff a few more blades of grass in the park! We just have to keep each other in sight.
Kate, Oliver and Aled