may need a bit more attention but... if your Mini Schnauzer has lost his hearing know that he can still lead a fulfilling happy life!
Causes of Deafness in Schnauzers
Deafness in dogs can occur from a variety of reasons. It can occur at birth or develop later on in your Schnauzer's life. Congenital deafness is the type of deafness that occurs from birth. It is usually caused by a defective gene.
Deafness that develops later on in life can occur from trauma or injury, ear infections, drugs, old age, even wax build-up or dirt and hair in your Schnauzer's ear. Some of these reasons for your Schnauzer's deafness may be temporary and some even treatable. For example, deafness caused by an accumulation of wax, hair, or dirt can easily be rectified through proper grooming and care of your Schnauzer's ears.
Is your Schnauzer totally deaf? Deaf dogs can have unilateral deafness or affecting only one of their ears. These dogs still need extra attention and supervision but they are actually partially deaf. A dog with bilateral deafness means both ears of the dog are affected and therefore the dog is totally deaf.
The BAER test or the brainstem auditory evoked response test can detect auditory pathways in the brain through electrical activity in the cochlea (similar to the way an EKG detects electrical activity in one's heart).
The test is performed for each ear to determine whether or not the dog has partial hearing or is totally deaf. The test is the most reliable way to determine if a dog is deaf.
Deaf Dog Behaviors
Here are the top 5 warning signs that could indicate your Schnauzer is deaf or losing his hearing:
- your Schnauzer does not respond to verbal command
- he sleeps more
- he responds just when touched and when he sees something
- he paws at his ears
- he shakes his head often
Observing any of these warning signs or other major changes in your Schnauzer's behavior should alert you to have your veterinarian take a look at your dog. Your Schnauzer's vet will be able to perform the necessary tests to determine if your Schnauzer is deaf or losing his hearing and if so, will it be treatable.
Your Schnauzer's vet, depending on the underlying cause of deafness, may put your dog on antibiotics, prescribe topical medications, have your Schnauzer's ears professionally cleaned out to remove the blockage, etc... If there is no treatment that will help your Schnauzer's hearing, you will need to make some adjustments in the way you communicate and supervise your Schnauzer.
Living with a Deaf Dog
STAY Hand SignalIf your Schnauzer’s deafness is untreatable, you will need to learn to communicate and supervise your dog differently than before. Owners must train their dogs to respond to hand signals. Much like a deaf person responds and communicates through sign language.
In order to be successful training your deaf Miniature Schnauzer, you will need added patience and understanding. (This is yet another reason as to why it is good to train your Schnauzer from the beginning with both verbal and hand cues).
Another important change will be in the way you supervise your deaf Schnauzer. Since your Schnauzer won't be able to hear oncoming traffic and other dangers in his environment, it will be up to you to pay close attention to his whereabouts and activities.Even partially hearing dogs can get confused and disoriented, not knowing what direction a sound came from. As a safety precaution, always keep your deaf Schnauzer leashed to prevent accidents from occurring. And to help you locate your dog even within your home, place a bell on your Schnauzer's collar so you can hear him moving about. Remember, your deaf Schnauzer won't hear you calling him for dinner.
Helpful tip and word of caution for owners: Deaf dogs are usually more easily startled when approached from behind. This can cause them to react negatively. The best approach to a deaf dog is always head on. If your dog is sleeping, stomp on the floor before approaching him. The vibrations will wake him so he sees you coming. This is an important safety tip especially for children to know about their deaf dog.
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