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Jess K
Jess K, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1514
Experience:  Licensed Veterinarian
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How can I tell if my dog is deaf or if something is blocking

Customer Question

How can I tell if my dog is deaf or if something is blocking his hearing? He constantly shakes his head and throws himself on the floor to scratch his ears. He is an older Shiht-zu
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Jess K replied 2 years ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Jess and I am sorry to hear Chumley is having some problems at home. It sounds as though he is having some issues with his ears. The symptoms that you are describing are ones we see very often with dogs that have an ear infection, or otitis externa. In dogs, their ear infections are usually in the outer ear canal, unlike in humans, whose ear infections are usually deeper within the ear, behind the ear drum. Sometimes if there is chronic inflammation in the ear canal due to repeated ear infections, we can see some hearing loss. His hearing may also be diminished while having an ear infection because he may have a large amount of discharge or buildup within his ear canal. I would recommend taking him in to your vet so they can look into his ear with an otoscope (a special light and magnifying lens that allows us to look inside the ear) so they can evaluate his ear canal, and determine if he has an infection. Usually based on what we find, he will be prescribed medicated ear drops (sometimes the infection can be bacterial, sometimes yeast, and sometimes a combination of both). If the ear canals are very inflammed a steroid or antiinflammatory oral medication may also be prescribed to decrease the discomfort until the ear drops can start to work. Unfortunately there isn't a good over the counter treatment for this, so getting him in to a vet will be necessary. Until his ear infection is cleared up, it is hard to say if he has hearing loss or if it will resolve with treatment. One way to test his hearing is to have him looking at you while someone else stands behind him. The person behind him can clang a metal pot or make another similar noise and you can see if Chumley turns to see what made the noise. But as I said, the issue may be related to an infection and may resolve with treatment. I hope this information may have answered your question. If you have any additional questions, please let me know and I will be happy to help. If this has answered your question, please take a moment to rate your answer so we can be sure you are satisfied with the service. Thank you so much and good luck with Chumley!