New Hearing Screening Service now available at Davies
We have recently expanded our Neurology service to offer a Hearing Assessment Clinic for dogs and cats.
Our Hearing Assessment Clinic caters for dog and cat breeds on screening programmes for congenital deafness and for individuals where hearing loss is suspected.
The clinic is led by neurology technician Julia Freeman, a leading exponent of the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) screening test. Julia was a neurology technician at the Animal Health Trust for 31 years, until it closed in July 2020. Along with colleagues there, she helped to develop and implement BAER testing as a screening process in animals at risk of congenital deafness. This is now recognised as the Gold Standard in deafness testing by organisations such as The Kennel Club and various breed clubs in the UK.
Julia pictured with a young Dalmatian patient.
Image courtesy of Oliloudalmatians
Hearing Assessment Clinic Services
At Davies, we offer the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) hearing test. This is a completely objective, unequivocal way of assessing a pet’s hearing ability.
Breed-specific Hearing Screening Tests
Hearing screening tests for dogs
Over 90 breeds of dog have been identified as having congenital deafness (deafness at or shortly after birth). Breeds affected include Dalmatians, Bull Terriers, English Setters, Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs and Parson Russell Terriers. Owners of at-risk breeds can self-refer for screening tests.
- We offer Kennel Club and Breed Club recognised screening tests which can be carried out from around 6 weeks of age upwards.
- We have Gold Standard testing facilities, including premium equipment, validated testing procedure and a highly trained technician with over 30 years’ veterinary experience.
- There is a comfortable, stress-free and hygienic set-up, including a “playpen” and bedding, allowing a full litter of puppies to be brought in for testing together.
- Young puppies are never sedated, older puppies and adult dogs can often be tested fully conscious as well (depending on temperament).
Hearing screening tests for cats
White cats are also predisposed to congenital deafness and require a bilaterally normal BAER hearing test to be entered on the Active Register of the GCCF.
Cats are, more often than not, also able to be tested fully conscious but this again depends on temperament.
What’s included in the hearing screening tests?
- Documentation is included as part of the service.
- Every pet tested receives an individual certificate, with the result checked and signed by a specialist in Veterinary Neurology.
- Advice is offered for breeders or potential owners of bilaterally deaf and unilaterally deaf individuals.
Clinical Hearing Tests
Some pets become deaf or hearing impaired due to illness or old age – confirming and quantifying the degree of hearing loss often aids with management and ensuring quality of life. Hearing loss and hearing threshold can be evaluated by BAER test.
Unequivocal confirmation of hearing status enables owners to adapt and adjust their interaction with their pet.
Some breeds, such as the Border Collie or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may be affected by early adult-onset deafness, which occurs at a younger age than age-related hearing loss.
Hearing evaluation may be carried out without a neurological examination – referral from your own vet is required, but can be arranged relatively quickly.
If assessment of hearing is indicated alongside a neurology appointment, this can be arranged so the hearing test is carried out at the same visit as any other investigations.