The Genetics of Deafness in Dalmatians

Ashley Cline


In dogs, deafness is linked to the white coat color. Approximately 85 breeds of dogs have been reported to be susceptible to congenital deafness. In Dalmatians, deafness is linked to a gene involved in their patchy baldness coloration. Dalmatians are the most prevalent with approximately half of the breed affected in the United States. A small percentage of effected dogs are deaf in both ears, the rest are deaf in just one ear. The deafness usually occurs a few weeks after the dog is born. Deafness is lifelong with no treatment. Congenital deafness in dogs can also be acquired other ways, such as intrauterine infections, oxotoxic drugs, liver disorders, or other toxic exposures before birth or soon after. Inherited deafness can be caused by a multiple of possibilities.

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