Hearing issue, vet, whistle

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by longshadowfarms, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    Our Pyr, Carter, has a pretty severe hearing loss. All of a sudden though I've noticed that he is starting to hear more. We got him along with Katie the Anatolian in early April last year. He was about 2 yrs old at that time so he is approaching 3 if the information we have is accurate. He was rescued and came through the pound so info is sketchy. He was holocaust survivor thin when he came and after a few months of trying to stuff food into him he was still incredibly thin registering 100 lb at the vet. We found out as time went on that stress was keeping him from eating. Katie kept attacking him and we eventually ended up separating them when she kept trying to kill him. All of a sudden he started eating where before I had to really work hard to get him to eat. We had Katie put to sleep about a month ago when we found out that NY's aggression laws would not really allow us to rehome her. Since then he seems to have relaxed even more. He now snuggles, allows me to brush him a lot more, and is generally just much more mellow. Not sure if it is an age thing or that with her gone he is really able to relax completely. Anyway, we tried to have his ears checked the first time he was at the vet but he was too wild to really get a look. I think we did get a check the second time when he was in to get his hips looked at. They didn't find anything to indicate a problem. He was put under to have his legs and hips checked and I can't remember if we had his ears checked again when he was under or not. I almost think not because we just figured he was deaf and that was it. His ears are as clean as any dogs I've ever seen. Kind of amazing since Carter himself seems to LOVE dirt. He's kind of like the Charlie Brown PigPen character. His lack of interest in brushing doesn't help. Anyway, I'm wondering if there could be an inner ear issue going on without any kind of signs in the outer ear. By looking into the ear canal can you see an inner ear infection? I'm completely clueless! I guess I'm wondering how to proceed. Is it worth another trip to the vet? Any other possibilities? How likely is it that his hearing will improve? Would a probiotic supplement help? Anything else? I'd like him to regain as much hearing as possible. It isn't a MAJOR issue but it would be nice to be able to get his attention. I dug an old whistle out of the attic today and he can hear that. He seems to hear higher pitched sounds better than lower pitched sounds. It really surprises him to hear though so not much has been getting through. It is nice to be able to have a way to get his attention other than visually. I'm hoping that as he hears it enough and connects it to mom that it will become a reliable way to get his attention. Side note - we picked up a whistle at a pet store last night thinking it was about $5 (couldn't find the price easily). Later I realized they had charged us $15!!!!!!! It took me about a half hour digging around the attic to find it but I know I only paid about $1 for the exact same whistle 20 yrs ago! The other is still in the package and will be going back!
     
  2. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    His hearing problem may have been because of the horrible stress he was under, both from his prior home, and life with the Anatolian. Now that he feels safe, he can be himself. If his ears smell, there is an infection. Call the vet's office and ask if they checked his ears when he was under. They may not have written it down, esp if there was no problem. The best thing you can do nutritionally is to feed him a high quality dog food. Because of his prior life, you may want to give him a canine vitamin to supplement.

    Can you whistle? If you can, you don't need a metal or plastic whistle. My dog comes to my whistle, and I use a different whistle for the donkeys. If your dog has a hearing problem, but hears the whistle, you can use different whistles to mean different things. Since dogs learn from visual signals before verbal ones, you can still train him with hand signals.

    Just remembered, my old boss had a deaf dog. They got his attention by stomping on the floor.
     

  3. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    I have not noticed any smell but haven't checked that since his ears are so clean. I'll do the sniff tomorrow.

    He's getting Nutro Natural Choice for Large dogs which has glucosamine chondroitin added. I also add fish oil, brewer's yeast and vit C. I'd consider stepping up to a better kibble but at 6 c a day he eats me out of house and home! He won't touch raw bones and thinks I'm trying to kill him if I plop a bone in his food.

    I can't whistle worth a hoot so I did dig out a metal whistle and have tried that a few times. He hears it well, he just needs to connect it to me now. Most times he hears something he can't figure out where it is coming from. As I said before, I don't think much has been getting through as it really seems to startle him when he does hear.

    He already knows a visual sign to sit. I mostly wanted some way to get his attention when he is asleep or when I can't find him. He has a rather large fenced area for his enclosure and when he is sleeping in some out of the way place it can be really hard to find him. We use the stomp or even a concussive clap (to cause vibration rather than noise) a lot but you need to be right near him to do that.

    He is a working LGD so a hearing improvement would be helpful. He's very alert to movement though and is great at patrolling. He works very well now but as I said before, I'd like to do all I can to help him recover as much as is possible.

    The more I think about it, the more I think it is worth another vet check. I'll call first and see if they have anything on the record from when he was under. That was for a leg problem we were trying to diagnose. They were trying to see if it was HD, a cruciate problem or a nerve problem. His hips were excellent, his hocks (?term?) were also in great shape. The vet thinks it was the sciatic nerve. He didn't handle Rimadyl well so we went with a round of prednisone. He could barely walk at that point. Now he runs/walks a few miles every day. His gait is amazingly strong and beautiful to watch. He has turned into a very powerful dog. His coat looks awesome too!

    Aside from his thinness, he really wasn't in terrible shape when he came. I think the thinness was just anorexia due to stress. Now though he's just blossomed unbelievably. He was great when we got him and just gets better and better all the time.
     
  4. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    It is possible that his hearing loss was the result of ruptured eardrums--which can heal over a period of months. I don't know what time-frame you're talking about, but could that explain his improved hearing?
     
  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For sciatica: when he is sleeping, place one of your arms across the small of his back where the ureters are, and the other hand on the cheek of the bad leg/butt. Hold for at least fifteen minutes, but longer is better. You might have to do it more than once.

    I'm glad he's so much better. I think Nutro is probably a fine dog food for him. It is on the Whole Dog Journal's list of good dog foods, and they are very picky.
     
  6. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    He was mostly deaf when he came in April. The hearing improvement is VERY recent. It has just been the last few weeks that we've noticed it. Before that he only heard things like gunshots or occasionally very loud high pitched sounds like the guineas going off near him. Last night I was out walking and gave him a hug and told him he was a good dog in a normal talking voice (just a habit - he's never heard it before) and he actually seemed to hear it! Again, it startled him. I tried it again making sure I wasn't touching him and that it wasn't blowing in his ear that did it :whistle: He responded again to a normal speaking voice. It only seems to be the one ear and he still can't seem to figure out what it is. I have unforunately not been home during normal vet hours for the last 3 days so I'll try calling tomorrow. This is one of those times that I REALLY wish we could talk to his former owners and find out more about his background.

    Maura, his sciatic nerve has not been a problem again since the initial treatment. He's a moving machine now! I'll file that away though in case he ever does have a problem. It might have been another stress related issue as he had to be sedated every night to crate him while he was in rescue. Then he came here and Katie kept attacking him. The poor thing went from one stressful situation to another.
     
  7. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    Well, I just got back from taking Carter to the vet but didn't come back with any real answers. I'm not sure what I was expecting. I've lived with hearing issues in a child and they are sooooo tricky! There's just not a whole lot that can be done. They can basically eliminate possibilities but that's about it. Carter's ears were not checked when he was under a few months back but he was calm enough today that the vet was able to check them out pretty well. He was also able to get a response by whistling for what it was worth. He is willing to look into BAER testing for him but I'm not sure what that will help. I know that even with my son they were never able to pinpoint a cause and he's been through tons more testing than I'm sure they do on dogs! So I guess that kind of leaves us right where we were when we started. I'll keep on keeping on with what we are doing and hope that whatever is going on in his ears keeps improving. He was quite impressed with how good Carter looks aside from the dirt. It has rained here a LOT and Carter is a working LGD. Carter got the dirtiest dog award for the day :rolleyes: He was an absolute gentleman though even when a little old lady couldn't be bothered to control her bratty Cocker Spaniel and it tried to bite Carter :nono: He should have stepped on the little brat but he's too polite. Here's a pic from earlier this week:

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