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Vet J. 2012 Aug;193(2):404-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.02.018. Epub 2012 Mar 26.

Congenital deafness in Jack Russell terriers: prevalence and association with phenotype.

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Veterinary Neurological Center, 4202 E. Raymond St., Phoenix, AZ 85040, USA.


Congenital hereditary sensorineural deafness is the most common form of deafness in dogs. The objectives of this study were to determine a reliable measure of the prevalence of deafness in Jack Russell terriers, an affected breed, and associations between deafness and phenotypic characteristics. Brainstem auditory evoked response recordings and phenotypic parameters (coat color, coat texture, sex, eye color, sire and dam hearing status) were recorded for 1009 Jack Russell terriers. The prevalence of unilateral and bilateral deafness was 3.57% and 0.50%, respectively, lower by a factor of three to four than in earlier reports based on smaller and closely related kindreds. Significant association with deafness was identified with white coat color and parental hearing status, but not with sex or coat type. Lack of significant sex or coat type associations and the significant association with white coat color are consistent with previous reports. In conclusion the prevalence of deafness in Jack Russell terriers is lower than initially reported. Deafness was associated with white coat color and parental hearing status. The association with parental hearing status supports this form of deafness being a heritable trait in the breed and the association with white coat color supports an inheritance linked to pigmentation genes.

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