I set up Dragon Pet Services around 6 months ago with the aim to provide affordable health service for local animals in my area, specifically those is rescues and rehoming centres.
I have received excellent uptake of titre testing for dogs and faecal worm counts for dogs, cats, goats, horses and other species. These services not only allow owners to ensure their animals are protected against viruses and parasites but also reduces the quantity of unnecessary chemicals that inject and allow our pets to injest.
I would now like to expand my remit of services by providing a mobile BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) hearing testing service for the Wales region. The closest hearing clinics are currently Worcester or Chester, which may be close enough for those on the M4 corridor or borders but for those located further into Mid, West or South West Wales, it is a huge distance to travel, especially as often the requirement is to test young puppies.
The main target audience for the new hearing service will be animal rehoming centres within a 75 mile radius of my postal code. I have contacted rescue and rehoming centres and the response has been very positive. They understand that I cannot offer the service for free but hopefully with the help of your pledges to pay for the cost of instruments, I will be able to keep the charge at a resonate rate.
The Welsh mobile BAER hearing test service will allow animals looking for new homes, to be tested prior to rehoming and allow deaf dogs/cats to be placed in appropriate homes, thus ensuring a home for life and not to be returned due to'bad behaviour' and later diagnosed as deaf.
I will also be contacting breeders of dogs who are prone to deafness in order to try and encourage responsible breeding.
If you believe my project is beneficial to dogs and cats in rescues throughout Wales, then even a pledge of £1 will help. I am offering discounted services if certain amounts are pledged.
Thank you for your time, Eve
Why BAER Test?
- - Bilaterally deaf (deaf in both ears) dogs require specific training needs and identifying this allows for targeted training, improving the comfort and safety for both the dog and the owner/potential owners.
- - Once owners/rehoming centres find out the hearing status of their dog, they can develop appropriate communication and training techniques (e.g. exaggerated body language and sign signals).
- - Deaf dogs are often put down due to decreased awareness of dangers (e.g. vehicles and animal predators) and possibly aggressiveness (easily startled) – if owners/rehoming centres know the hearing status of their dog, they can take necessary precautions to prevent this.
Congenital deafness is recognised as a problem in dog and cat breeds that carry the extreme piebald gene, i.e. those with a mostly white coat. Such breeds include, but are not limited to: Dalmatians, English Setters, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, white Boxers, white Bull Terriers and white cats.
It has been suggested that this could be due to a fault in the movement of pigment cells, or their interaction with other structures in the inner ear during embryo development. Unpigmented skin in the inner ear causes the nerve endings to break down and die in the first few weeks of a puppy’s life.
Deafness can also occur as a result of trauma or illness but the method of hearing testing remains the same.
The BAER test is a quick and non-invasive test which can diagnose deafness in dogs and cats by detecting the electrical activity of the brain in response to an auditory stimulus (usually a clicking noise), which is recorded and displayed on a computer screen. The test is a reliable way to determine whether a dog is deaf and also for measuring the extent of its hearing loss. Full training will be sort on the use of the testing system.
BAER testing machine: £2650
Tax & Insurance for vehicle: £600
I have over 10 years experience in immunology, ELISA testing, antiody production, processing, purification and conjugation. I am qualified in microchipping of small animals. Previous employment also includes involvement in breeding and conversation biology. I run all of our laboratory tests on-site following GMP and strict SOP protocols. Eve James BSc (Hons)
Photo courtesy of Sonja Shepherd