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The standard method of determining deafness in dogs is the BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test.

BAER testing is primarily for your use as an owner and breeder of healthy English Setters. Test results are always confidential. It is your choice whether you discuss results with other breeders or send your test results in to the ESAA BAER Database.

The scientists studying canine deafness think inheritance is a major factor in the kind of deafness we see most often in English Setters. They believe we can identify the patterns of inheritance if we pool our test results and study them statistically. Especially important is information on entire litters as it reveals the patterns more quickly. It is NOT necessary for the scientists to know the identities of dogs to study the patterns.

The ESAA Health & Genetics Committee has developed a database to collect BAER test results. The results will be shared with veterinary scientists in a CONFIDENTIAL format for analysis. Whatever we learn will be shared with all ESAA members. What you as a breeder choose to do with the information is up to you. It is NOT the position of ESAA or its Health & Genetics Committee to tell you how to design your breeding program.

If you wish to send your test results to the ESAA BAER database, basic instructions are summarized below. They differ a bit if you test an individual dog vs. an entire litter.


Basic guidelines are summarized below. They do differ for individual dogs and litters. Please also read and follow the more detailed instructions listed directly on the BAER Test Form. Any questions can be referred to:

Database Coordinator Jane Wooding email:
Health & Genetics Chair Dr. Michelle Raisor email:


-- This form is used for all testing.
1. If testing an entire litter (including a singleton puppy litter) list one puppy on each line.
2. If testing littermates but not the entire litter, list one puppy per line.
3. If testing one dog, or multiple dogs from different litters, use a separate Test Form for each dog.

-- There is no charge for whole litters with all the tracings submitted. Otherwise, the cost is $5.00 per dog – checks made out to ESAA.

-- All BAER Normal dogs are automatically submitted to the ESAA BAER Web Site and the OFA Web Site. Abnormal dogs can be submitted to OFA only with the breeder/owner written permission – see Test Form for “Authorization to Release Abnormal Results”.

-- Canadian dogs must be identified with tattoo or microchip number on Test Form.

-- All other registries (including FDSB) must have a copy of each dog’s registration form submitted with the other paperwork.


Each BAER Tracing must contain:
1. The Date of the test.
2. The dog’s identification linked to the testing form.
3. Diagnosis by the tester.
4. Signature or stamp of tester.
In addition, it is recommended (although not mandatory) that the following be included: Tester’s address and phone #
Dog’s Date of Birth
Sex and color of animal
Breed of animal

Make xerox copies of the tracings and Test Form to send to the Database. ALWAYS keep the originals for your files.

There has been a significant number of reported cases of puppies testing abnormal when tested prior to 6 weeks then retested with normal results several weeks later. Upon review, the ESAA Board of Directors is suggesting that puppies be tested as close as possible to the age of 7 weeks or older. If tested younger and found to be affected, you might want to do a retest.

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