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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20234
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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Our dog plungie seems to be going/ gone deaf, would warm

Customer Question

Our dog plungie seems to be going/ gone deaf, would warm coconut oil/water in his ear help to maybe remove a build up of wax. saw it today on Dr Oz for humans.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Plunger is his name (plumbers dog) he is 13 years old
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Plunger?
Customer: No not really, he has regular visits with the vet that comes to coober Pedy SA. When speaking to the vet he says there is nothing that can be done. But if warm cocunut oil helps for humans would it help for plungie, we are thinking that he has a build up of wax in his ear. He has never had anything done to his ears before.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 9 months ago.

Hi,I'm Dr Scott. Welcome to JustAnswer, I am working on your question now, you can expect a written reply sometime within the next ten minutes or so.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 9 months ago.

Hello again

Sorry to hear Plunger has this problem, however I have worked out an answer for you below. { This is an excerpt from an article I wrote on the subject which was published elsewhere } But at this point I would not put anything in your dog's ear canals until you know what you are dealing with as sometimes this can make things very much worse. My advice to you is have your vet examine Plunger just in case something can be done in terms of wax build up in your dog's ear canal, your vet will quickly check this out with an otoscope.

But lets cover the subject ... When I was in practice I was sometimes presented with dogs which had gone deaf, this is never an easy situation as a positive cure is often unlikely, however on the plus side these dogs often continue to live normal enough lives. To my mind there are three main reasons why dogs go deaf :

1. Acquired deafness - perhaps through a disease or a drug.
2. Congenital deafness. - inherited deafness which can occur in certain breeds.
3. Deafness of senility - a common situation in older dogs.

Acquired deafness: This is a rare situation but probably under diagnosed. Possible causes could be a blow to the head say following a road traffic accident or repeated exposure to loud noises such as could occur with gun dogs. It can also happen as a rare side effect to various medications, drugs which have been implicated are prednisolone, aspirin, erythromycin, vincristine which is a chemotherapy drug. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, just a few examples and as I have said this is a very rare side effect. This form of deafness can also be the result of infections of the inner, middle or outer ear, again most ear infections will resolve and not leave lasting damage of any sort. It is unlikely that any benefit will follow treatment but worth a try in this form.

Congenital deafness: This is associated with an autosomal dominant or recessive gene, certain dog breeds commonly affected, examples would be the Dalmatian, Border Collie, Great Dane, and English Setter. There is some connection with a white or merle coat colour and blue irises. Again there is at present no treatment. I wonder sometimes why people breed dogs like Dalmatians when they know there is a high chance of some of the puppies being deaf? While this form of deafness will not be the problem with your Water Spaniel I have included it for the sake of completeness.

Deafness of Senility: This is the common form of deafness, a vet will normally pick it up during a routine examination when he questions the owners. When you examine the ears with the otoscope all looks well but the dog is twelve or thirteen years of age and the owner tells you that it now cannot hear high frequency sounds such as whistles but it can respond to low rumbling noises. This situation is progressive and there is no possible treatment. I have personal experience of this one, I used to have two collie cross mongrels when I lived in the UK and I used to walk them in a large park close to where I lived before I went to work in the morning. As time passed they of course got older and one morning I whistled and Jennie did not come back as she normally would have done and after that she was noticeably deaf and some six months later the same thing happened to Meg.

As a vet I would have thought that this form of deafness would have been slowly progressive but as a dog owner I have to tell you that both dogs seemed to get deaf overnight. Again there is no conventional treatment for this condition, sadly this is the most likely scenario in Plunger's age group, deafness of senility, but still worth having an initial check up with your vet just in case ...


Dr Scott
Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 9 months ago.

Hello again,

I am just checking back in to see how your dog is getting on after our recent dialogue concerning and also to check if you would like more information on the subject ...


Dr Scott
Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue. Such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.