Some dog breeds are more prone to some diseases and syndromes than others. Those genetic diseases can be a discomfort or they could be very dangerous.
When you do opt for a specific dog breed, you should do what is in your power to find out all about the possible genetic diseases. After all, you are supposed to take care of your pup once you adopt her, and you should know what you can expect.
You can do some things to make sure that your new puppy is less prone to certain diseases, but there is no guarantee. So, what diseases are Corgis prone to?
Are Corgis prone to deafness? Continue reading our article to find out all about Corgis!
Are Corgis Prone To Deafness?
Deafness is another word for the loss of hearing, and dogs can be at risk to lose hearing, just like other animals. Some dog breeds can be more prone to losing their hearing, but are Corgis prone to deafness?
Unfortunately, Corgis as a breed are more likely to lose hearing than other dog breeds. There are two different theories as to why are Corgis are prone to deafness.
In this article, we will discuss what can you do about deafness, how to treat it and how to make deafness as comfortable as possible. Also, how to make sure that your Corgi is less likely to get deafness!
Generally, dogs can learn to live with deafness just like people can. It can take some adjusting, but luckily, loss of hearing is gradual and it takes time. So, you and your Corgi will have plenty of time to adjust to the new situation.
Now is the time to get into the nits and grits of Corgis and deafness!
Why Are Corgis Prone To Deafness?
In reality, there are two possible reasons as to why dogs are prone to deafness. The two theories affect different breeds entirely, but they are both worth noting.
The first thing we would like to say that dogs with a white fur coat or white details on their fur are more prone to developing deafness. This is all due to a special layer of cells located in the dog’s inner ear that is responsible for the hearing ability.
This layer of cells that enable hearing comes from the same stem cell source as the cells that determine hair color. Without these stemcells, the dog would not be able to hear and it would likely be completely white-colored.
Moreover, dogs that are carriers of the piebald gene are more prone to deafness than dogs that do not. Piebaldism is a consequence of the lack of melanocytes – the cells that cause the pigment melanin. The melanocytes are a part of the Corgi’s DNA, and they determine the color your pup can be, as well as the eye color.
So, when the dog has piebaldism or is born without the melanocytes, the dog will likely be born with a completely or partially white fur coat. Also, the pup will be more likely to have blue eyes – because blue eyes are not real eye color. Blue eyes are a result of the lack of pigment in the iris. Piebaldism usually affects boxers, English setters, dalmatians, and bull terriers.
The other theory explains why Corgis are prone to deafness. Corgis are carriers of the merle gene, which causes the dog to have a merle or dapple coat, and blue eyes. Other notable breeds that carry the merle gene are dapple Dachshunds, Border Collies, and Old English Sheepdogs.
The reasons why Corgis lose hearing are numerous, and the exact cause may be hard to determine. Generally, as the Corgi ages, the nerves in the ear start to degrade, and the hearing becomes worse. Since the loss of hearing is a slow and gradual process, it could be hard to notice at first.
To make the likelihood of your Corgi developing deafness lower, there are some precautions you can take. We will discuss them in the following sections!
How To Prevent Deafness In Corgis?
Well, to be fair – with the onset of deafness, there is nothing you can do except try to make your Corgi’s life easier. Aside from that, prevention consists only of choosing a Corgi that isn’t prone to deafness. How can you pick out a Corgi that isn’t prone to deafness?
Well, Corgis with the merle color are more prone to developing deafness, as we discussed in the previous section. So, you should be extra careful when you are buying a Corgi from a breeder.
Not all breeders keep in mind the ethics of breeding – some keep an eye on the money. Meaning, they will breed two Corgis that shouldn’t be bred together. For example, two merle Corgis shouldn’t be bred because their puppies are at a higher risk of developing deafness.
The key to deafness prevention is finding a reputable and ethical breeder. Even if some Corgi puppies are much cheaper, they are likely prone to worse diseases than deafness.
Buying a Corgi puppy from an unreliable breeder can result in many expensive visits to the vet. What’s worse, the vet can only try to ease the symptoms, while they cannot do much to cure genetic diseases.
So, the solution is to find a breeder that gives the health guarantee upon the purchase of a Corgi puppy. Without the health guarantee, you are taking the risk upon yourself and you could end up paying over a few thousand dollars annually for treatments of genetic diseases.
How can you make sure that the breeder in question is ethical? Well, one sure thing is if they are willing to discuss the Corgi’s parents and possible diseases. If the breeder avoids answering or isn’t open to showing you the parents, it could be a sign that their breeding isn’t ethical.
Ethically bred Corgis aren’t only less prone to deafness, they are less likely to develop any other genetic disease. They may cost double or triple or the cost of a Corgi without certificates, but they are surely worth the money.
Saving money on a puppy means potentially being out a small fortune on vet bills over the Corgi’s lifetime. Also, it can take a big emotional toll on the whole family as you see your Corgi slowly decreasing.
Corgis And Deafness: Symptoms And Management
There are a few tell-tale signs that your Corgi is losing her hearing. It may be hard to notice at first because it’s such a gradual process. However, there are a few things you should be on the lookout for.
First, if your Corgi sleeps more deeply than usual. Corgis generally have a keen sense of hearing and they can hear noises humans cannot detect. So, it’s only natural that they wake up from some noises people wouldn’t even consider loud.
If the hearing is degrading, the Corgi will not be able to detect some low sounds that would usually wake her up. As the hearing degrades further, your Corgi may not even flinch when you drop something on the floor or call to her.
If you notice that your Corgi isn’t responding as she used to, you should take her to the vet for a check-up. These symptoms may be a sign of deafness, but they could also be a sign of an underlying disease. Either way, the vet will be able to tell for sure what is going on after an exam.
As for the management of your Corgi’s deafness, there are things you can do to make your life and your pet’s life easier. It’s principal to adjust to the changes in your life and to make your pup more comfortable.
Since you will likely not be able to give your pup voice commands at some point, you should teach her hand signals on time. Visual communication can work just as well as vocal.
So, if your Corgi can still hear partially, it will be much easier to teach hand signals. It’s simple – add the hand signal to the usual voice command so your Corgi can associate the two. After you repeat the hand signal at least a dozen times, you will teach her to respond to the hand signal.
After you teach your furry baby successfully, whenever you would like to implement a new command, use only the hand gesture. If you now use a marker to teach your pet new behaviors, you will need to use a visual marker like a hand gesture. If you used a clicker or the voice command “yes”, a thumbs up will be a great way to replace the sound.
One of the most important gestures you can teach your Corgi is a hand gesture for “come”. This is crucial because you will need to maintain control of your dog, even if she cannot hear you anymore.
For gesturing “come”, you can use an emergency whistle since they are very loud. Even Corgis with hearing loss can still hear an emergency whistle.
The best way to train your dog to respond to the emergency whistle is using treats after you blow the whistle. Consider whistle training in the woods or away from residential neighborhoods, because it will be less upsetting for you and everyone around you.
After some time, your pup will only be able to respond to hand signals – and she needs to see you to be able to respond. If you need your dog to turn around to see you, stamp your foot on the ground until she turns around.
Also, you can wave your hand in front of Corgi’s face or touch her lightly on the neck or back. After a while, she will understand that this is the cue to turn around.
One more thing that works well for deaf dogs is vibration collars. They are in no way shock collars – they only vibrate gently when you press a button on the remote control. After some training, the vibration on the collar will be a cue for your Corgi to come to you.
Keep in mind that your Corgi can still feel scared when you approach her unexpectedly and start petting her, especially if the action wakes her up. The key to avoiding this is to stomp your feet as you approach her, so the vibration from the ground wakes her up.
Some desensitization training will help, too. The training will make her feel more comfortable with sudden petting. To do that, touch your pup gently on her back or neck, and offer her a treat immediately afterward.
When your dog becomes deaf, you will have to be on the lookout for various dangers lurking outside. Firstly, you will need to lose the habit of letting her off the leash in the park or the woods.
She may not be able to hear traffic or other dangers anymore and she could be seriously hurt. Also, while walking on the sidewalk your Corgi may be startled by other people if she didn’t see them coming. You will need to learn to move her out of the way when you need to because she cannot hear the thing she needs to move from.
As for interactions with other dogs, keep them limited to familiar dogs from now on. Also, keep the interactions limited to places where you can supervise everything.
However, the most important thing for hearing loss management is patience. You will need to be very patient and have a positive attitude so your pup can feel safe and comfortable. If you succeed, your pup will transition to the new situation without any issues!
To conclude, Corgis are one of the breeds that are prone to deafness. However, picking a good, reputable breeder will make sure that your Corgi is less likely to lose her hearing.
Unfortunately, if your pup does start to lose her hearing, it’s not the end of the world. Teaching her hand signals or investing in a vibration collar can help a lot command-wise. After all, when voice commands are no longer an option, there are other things you can do to make your pup do what you want!
Keep in mind that your deaf pet can get into potentially dangerous situations due to the lack of hearing. You will need to hear instead of her and be on the lookout for potential threats!