Did you know that only 70% of Dalmatians have normal hearing? Deafness in white-furred (Albino) animals such as Dalmatians is caused by the absence of melanocytes in the inner ear, which may affect one or both ears. According to the British Dalmatian Club about 1 in 12 Dalmatians tested are deaf in both ears. It is not unusual for several pups in a litter to be deaf in one ear. The definitive test for deafness is called the BAER test, which is carried out when puppies are 6 weeks old. Electrodes connected to a computer are able to measure the brain’s response (or lack of response) to noise, and a printout is generated.
Breeders of Dalmatians have a responsibility to find out if pups might have hearing problems and should provide the computer printout showing the results to prospective buyers. Deafness in one ear only has little affect on the dog, but a deaf dog can be a liability to itself and those around it, so it is obviously important to test Dalmatian pups.
Yesterday, Daisy’s pups visited the vet for the test. Of the 8 pups, 3 were found to be deaf in one ear only. Thankfully they have perfect hearing in the other ear. One of these pups, Poppy, is the pup Natasha chose to keep, and, while she was obviously disapppointed, she knows that being deaf in one ear only won’t stop Poppy from having a normal happy life. She, like the other 2 pups, will only need their good ears well cleaned and looked after.
Meanwhile, the pups continue to grow and get up to mischief. Sometimes it can be just so exhausting, as you can see from this little one, who was too tired to eat!