Canine Consultations

Susanne Hughes, DVM

Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response testing is a quick and nearly painless screening test for deafness in dogs. This test is used to evaluate individuals of breeds having a hereditary propensity for sensorineural (nerve) deafness. Most puppies can be tested without any sedation at all. Occasionally, adults require a mild tranquilizer to relax enough that muscle activity does not interfere with the test.

The actual test involves placement of tiny needle electrodes underneath the skin below each ear and on one or two other points on the head. An earphone is inserted into the canal of the ear being tested and a clicking sound is generated. A computer analyzes and prints out the brainstem response in the form of a wave pattern. The resultant pattern is interpreted as normal or abnormal. With this test alone we do not attempt to assess partial hearing. Veterinary neurologists believe that genetic deafness is virtually an all-or-nothing occurrence in a given ear. However, deafness may occur in one or both ears. Other types of deafness may require further diagnostic testing to evaluate severity and possible treatment.

Contact me to schedule BAER testing for individual dogs, litters or as part of your group’s planned health clinic.