Deafness is not uncommon in Dalmatians. It is estimated that 10 - 12% of the breed is deaf. With that in mind, breeders like myself and many others do all that we can to hopefully produce a quality litter of puppies without any deafness.
That said, I am happy to announce that of this litter of 10 we have 19 hearing ears and only 1 deaf ear. This is 5% of the litter, and thus falls below the average for the breed.
Yesterday, co-breeders Ed and Cynthia Murray and myself drove several hours to the home office of Debra Mack, DVM for a BAER hearing test. BAER stands for brainstem auditory evoked response.
The response is collected with a special computer through extremely small electrodes placed under the skin of the scalp: one in front of each ear, one at the top of the head, and one between the shoulders. It is rare for a dog to show any evidence of pain from the placement of the electrodes - if anything the dog objects to the gentle restraint and the irritation of wires hanging in front of its face. The stimulus click produced by the computer is directed into the ear with a foam insert earphone. Each ear is tested individually, and the test usually is complete in 10-15 minutes. Sedation or anesthesia are usually not necessary unless the dog becomes extremely agitated, which can usually be avoided with patient and gentle handling. A printout of the test results, showing the actual recorded waveform, is provided at the end of the procedure. Test results are confidential. (Ref Dr. George M. Strain Louisiana State University Comparative Biomedical Sciences School of Veterinary Medicine
Baton Rouge, Louisiana)