Veterinarians are trained in otology, but are not specifically trained in audiology for animals. Currently 80 breeds of dogs experience genetically related deafness with more experiencing deafness due to age and noise exposure. The American Kennel Club advises breeders to have puppies tested by means of a BAER test and registered with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Owners are now routinely asking for hearing testing for older dogs as per their attending veterinarians. This applies to pets, working dogs and military working dogs. Some veterinary neurologists are capable of performing the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test, which is used for testing the hearing of animals, but are not specifically trained to make diagnostic judgments regarding audiological issues. This is the specific expertise of audiologists. There are a number of practicing audiologists who will run BAER tests for screening the hearing of animals, but the University of Cincinnati’s FETCH~LAB is the only university in the nation that has the capability to teach animal audiology to its AuD students or to practicing audiologists or veterinarians. The following articles show the sudden upsurge in interest and need for professional animal audiologists:
Given the expertise of the University of Cincinnati’s FETCH~LAB in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department we are the first university in the nation to offer such a certificate program.
The educational objectives of this program are to provide specialized training for audiology (AuD) students, currently practicing audiologists and veterinarians in the practice of animal audiology, with emphasis on canines and electrophysiological diagnostics. Students who complete this program will:
- Describe animal ear anatomy and physiology, as well as hearing and sound production systems in animals including: reptiles, avians, mammals (including fully aquatic mammals) and contrast how animal hearing systems differ from humans.
- Describe canine central auditory processing and the relationship between canine hearing and vocal production.
- List the types of sedation given to canines for BAER testing and describe the effects of such sedation on BAER testing.
- Use proper canine restraint
- Explain the physical and biological premises of animal bioacoustics.
- Perform and interpret basic audiological testing including: AEP, audiometry and tympanometry
- Perform BAER and OAE testing and a basic otoscopic examination on canines
Program Support by Current Faculty & Staff
The following current faculty and staff members will contribute to this proposed program:
Peter M. Scheifele MDr, PhD, LCDR USN (Ret.) – Assistant Professor will direct this program and teach CSD8050, CSD8099, CSD8016, practicum and team-teach CSD8020 (animal audiology). Dr. Scheifele already teaches all of these courses presently as part of his teaching load except animal audiology and UC FETCH~LAB is his laboratory. He will lecture at selected times in animal audiology.
John Greer Clark PhD – Assistant Professor will teach CSD8071, practicum and team-teach CSD8020 (animal audiology). Dr. Clark already teaches this course presently as part of his teaching load except animal audiology. He will lecture at selected times in animal audiology. In addition, he is a co-researcher in UC FETCH~LAB.
Laura Kretschmer EdD - Professor Emeritus in the Communication Sciences and disorders department at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Kretschmer team teaches clinical skills in animal audiology and consults on audiological assessments for puppy screening and presbycusis dogs in UC FETCHLAB.
Lynette Cole DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVD - Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Cole specializes in diseases of the ear and teaches ear diseases in canines for the UC Animal Audiology Certificate. Dr. Cole is also a collaborator with Dr. Peter Scheifele on Primary Secretory Otitis Media (PSOM) in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Debra Kemper DVM – Senior Staff Veterinarian Laboratory Animal Medical Services will be the program senior veterinarian. Dr. Kemper will team teach topics regarding veterinary technology and lecture in CSD8020 and CSD8099. She will oversee all veterinary aspects of practicum. Dr. Kemper is a Co-principal investigator in UC FETCH~LAB.
Shirley Shelton DVM, PhD – Research Scientist in MED Neurosurgery will provide lectures regarding veterinary technology and selected lectures in CSD8020 and CSD8099. She will assist in teaching veterinary aspects of practicum. Dr. Shelton is a research collaborator in UC FETCH~LAB.
Jennifer Wells DVM – Director of RWC Veterinary Technician Program will oversee any practical or academic topics covered at the RWC veterinary technician program. Dr. Wells is a research collaborator in UC FETCH~LAB.
External Consultants and Advisors
Advice from the UC IACUC, Lesa Scheifele EATM (Animal trainer/behaviorist) and Jennifer Wells DVM (Director, RWC Veterinary Technician Program) as well as guidance from Lisa Kelchner PhD (CSD Department Head) and Tina Whalen PhD (Interim Dean, College of Allied Health Sciences).
Program Support by Current Facilities
The UC FETCH~LAB is a suite of examination rooms, computer space, and necropsy room located in the French East building on the first floor. Current research, clinical audiological and vocal diagnostic clients and teaching are ongoing, having been established in September of 2007 by Dr. Scheifele. The classes for this program are routinely taught in French East. No further spaces or facilities are required to support this program. These spaces are already compliant with animal care and use (IACUC) protocol #07-12-19-1.