Many dogs’ hearing diminishes when they grow older, but in some breeds deafness can start at a very young age. This is the case in the progressive hearing disorder Early-Onset Adult Deafness (EOAD) in Border Collies and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. A genetic test was already available for Border Collies (test number H822), but now also is available for Rhodesian Ridgebacks (test number H756) since this breed has their own variant of the disease.
In Rhodesian Ridgebacks EOAD is caused by a recessive mutation to the gene EPS8L2, which affects males earlier than females. Affected dogs may start developing hearing loss as early as 4 months of age. The disease is progressive, reaching complete deafness in both ears between 12 and 18 months of age. This is not only impractical, but also changes the way the dog perceives and reacts to his environment, which could potentially harm his welfare.