Deaf Dogs Business Opportunities
Business Case for Certain Types of BAER Testing of (US) Dogs
Data are from the Web, October 2010; Dr Eisenhosen(Ph D)
Summary: Community BAER Genetic Deafness Testing Businesses are a Viable Opportunity
A BAER genetic deafness testing business had a moderate investment cost for entry equipment and training, low recurring costs as highly trained personnel reportedly weren’t required and near zero maintenance. Franchised or independent local persons or groups, such as Dog-Clubs not institutionally supported or subsidized, can apparently generally compete with the profit-based big facilities and others although costs for compliance with local regulations might favor the economies of scale of hyper-size organizations in some localities.
The major marketing themes could be “WE UNDERSTAND AND LOVE DEAF DOGS as well as hearing.” And, “We have no conflicts of interest such as offering dog euthanasia (killing), cremation, burial or disposal services.”
With potentially lower costs than the existing large organizations, local facilities could quite possibly make a profit with lower prices. At most, lower prices might mean several months for investors to recover their investments. Start-up investment accodring to equipment and training advertisments were small and possible for many people, especially if shared among members of a group.
Importantly, with tests being administered by small-scale facility-consultants, the dog-owners can be offered as part of the service, good accurate compassionate advice about genetically deaf dogs as part of the service the people pay for, if or when the deaf diagnosis results were positive: 'No need to panic or mourn: Your dog is a dog like any other of his/her breed, except its ears are ornaments -- you just need to switch communication techniques and do a few new exercises,' such as training the dog’s startle-alert reflexes to mean that good things could be happening.
DRAFT ROM Business Case for US BAER Test Facilities – 2010
I. Gross Income Potential per BAER Facility ( US facilities)
Alternative Dog Populations for Testing
1. All AKC adult dogs about $ 2.4 million
2. AKC deaf puppies annually about $ 9,000
3. AKC and Mutts adult deaf dogs about $ 420,000
Return on Investment (ROI) equipment and training deaf dogs ~ 10,000 percent; low risk
Break Even on BAER equipment costs about 3 (three months) from start date.
II. Basis of Business Case ROM
a. Per BAER Facility Investment Estimated Cost
BAER Test Equipment & training about $3,500 per facility
(Includes $1,000 computer, $100 training)
[Much more can be paid to get a top-line full featured kit by those who wish & have the $$$. In May 2011 a Disclaimer by the merchant warned that charging for tests might be regulated by local laws and regulations.] Conceivably certain local organizations such as membership clubs or charities accept donations in lieu of specific payments?
b. Typical Price per BAER Test (excluding client travel, etc) about $150 (Cy 2010)
c. ROM Cost per typical BAER Test (theoretically as low as about $15 about $ 100 each
III. Estimated Illustrative Costs for Private Owners for Actual Dogs BAER Tests
(Dalmatians and English Cockers at $150 per test)
Dalmatians, 5,600 dogs about $840,000
English Cocker Spaniels, 1,500 dogs about $225,000
IV. Estimated ROM BAER Genetic Deafness Tests Total Private Costs-US Dogs Options
a. If “all” US deaf dogs (cy 2010) tested, $150 ea. about $ 30 million
b. If “all” AKC dogs (cy 2010) tested, $150 ea. about $167 million
c. Puppies Registered AKC estimated 2,100,000 ea. annually about $310 million
V. Background: BAER geneticly deaf dogs testing businesses could be amazingly profitable.
The background of the events began at least 140 years ago, beginning with human small egocentrisms. Back in the 1870s, people began getting to together to establish “pure” breed clubs just for the fun of it with large social gatherings and celebrations, the ego kicks of having the most typical or "best" refined regional type of dog, but no huge commercial market yet. The truly gigantic US commodity market of dogs and dog owner services rapidly expanded when typical US families had fewer children, and adoption of individual dogs probably began to fill human major emotional needs (including protection, as well as some more popular social motives.)
Releases of the Disney film “101 Dalmatians” in 1961 and again in 1996 were milestone disasters for genetically deaf dogs in the US. The films popularized exotic dog coats, and sadly, the single US breed uniquely burdened with the greatest inherited genetic burden of deafness, about 30 percent. Puppy mills, reportedly not regulated by the AKC or other organizations, proliferated. Enormous numbers of unready families adopted Dalmatians, and reportedly soon abused and then abandoned not only the 30 percent who were deaf puppies but many of the others to rescues and shelters. The Dalmatian Club of America (DCA) with courage and wisdom, and AKC support, launched an unprecedentedly large research project to understand and document genetic deafness in Dalmatians, and later other AKC breeds as well. World-wide, dogs benefited from the timely research into dog inherited deafness initiated by the DCA and AKC.
After the Disney movie, with increasing numbers of consumers wanting special colors and patterns, many breeders tried to comply, many probably for financial reasons. Poorly informed and often indifferent breeders reportedly, as described even in Internet moderated discussions, began finding that selective breeding for exotic patterns meant deaf pups to be disposed of, but by then the financial gaines were clear and often tempting - both for some occasional breeders and some or many puppy mills.
But “getting rid” of the deaf pups into unknowing hands plausibly created embarrassing public relations problems for the some adversely impacted breed clubs and the AKC, so many breeders reportedly resorted to traditional methods – such as a bag in the river. Public relations “cover” was almost certainly probably augmented by deliberate creation of substantially false deaf-dog vicious hoax-stories, that were intended to make seem a humanitarian gesture the killing by breeders and others people of perhaps more than three  tons of puppies assessed by one means or anothe each year. The DCA with great courage, heroically, published on the Web their policy that killing and disposal must be done humanely.
In an aesthetically unappetizing "Devil’s bargain" exploiting exaggerated deafness concerns, there as described on the Internet emerged in the public and into the US pure-breed dog-market the BAER genetic deafness testers, who with the new devices had pride in their talents and maybe at first a large investment. So in an emerging “perfect storm”, the initially many small financial interests of breeders, breed clubs, private dog-owners, AKC, research Universities, and others piled on and the storm was magnified. Deaf dogs became “demonized”, according to some deaf dogs protective and rescue groups, difficult to find homes for, increasingly often abused and dog rescuers and shelters sometimes became emotionally and financially stressed. But the “driving” interested parties with financial or other reasons apparently weren't stopped. For a few years the DCA and others hoped (as they declared in the Internet) that the genetic research would reveal an inexpensive solution to inherited early deafness.
By 2010 genetic research progress permitted the identification of specific genes that controlled inherited deafness. Apparently to a significant degree the collateral old-age deafness of dogs, deafness in accidents and medical impacts were largely ignored? With dismay, it was discovered and reported that dog breeds whose existence depended on their exotic coat colors and patterns can’t be “cured” of inheritied deafness by genetic manipulation. Late 2010 evidence suggested that in the US almost all inherited deafness was probably among the roughly 20 percent that were AKC registered dogs.
At which point, of course, it plausibly stopped being “only” a mess no one could have known they were creating or sharing in and became an abuse against deaf dogs, their sibling blind dogs and their owners. Ordinary unaware consumers, who had no idea that getting a “fashion-fancy” dog meant creating inherited deaf and blind puppies, were innocent, of course. The recipe of the “mess” seemed to have been made of these probable bits:
- Breed dogs for special colors ($$$$),
- Knowing you'll be breeding more genetically deaf pups so that you can sell the purebred fancies at high prices
- Require the killing of deaf pups, before which anyone with a conscience wants the security of a technical test such as the BAER genetic deafness test($$$$); and people or org anizations such as laboratory or Department can get the fees for putting down (killing) the deaf dog and maybe cremating or burying it.
- Breeders also simply don't want to kill a pup they could sell for $ thousands more than the test costs, especially if the colors are 'flashy-popular-right'
- Deny that dog inherited deafness can be determined by inexpensive tests.
- Spread stories that deafness is a horrible defect that makes deaf dogs into lesser beings and a"bomb"; this to protect and continue the killing policy, but which also might spur even the fearful owners of mutts to get their pups tested ($$$$) if there was a suspicion of deafness; ditto shelters and rescues that think a dog might be deaf ($$$$)
- Shut deafies out of AKC competitions, because that spurs more people to get their dogs BAER tested ($$$$); helps to hide the numbers of genetic deafies within a breed from the public eye and helps keep the anti-deaf stories going (since it would be embarrassing if lots of deaf dogs won prizes).
VI. A "Counter-revolution" to Further Deaf-dogs Studies
1. BAER genetic deafness tests were expensive unneeded “overkill” for many dogs and their people
Contrary to the doctrine of the BAER genetic deafness testing authorities, if a dog as outlined by Dr Coren, was tested by clashing pans together behind its back while asleep seems certainly to be deaf, why not behave as if s/he is? This ties to the superstitions and the necessity to get rid of the aggression/dominance theory. If a dog doesn't 'obey', instead of assuming it's a power struggle between the owner and the dog (which can easily lead to abuse of the pup or dog), assume something else is going on - and that the dog needs your help. With young dogs who “suddenly” seem to be deaf, technical test such as BAER tests can be used to decide if the cause is medical and possibly treatable.
But with old dogs (and some old humans) it's not always clear whether the dog is starting to fail to respond due to a kind of dementia or instead due to old-age onset of deafness. You don't need to know in order to help the dog if the non-response to sound is due to a slowing brain rather than to inner-ear-deafness: your adjustments help the dog all the same.
2. Recent dog-research documented  many dog sensorium abilities that deaf dogs can usefully adapt to overcome some useful hearing despite natal inherited puppy-age genetic deafness.
Many, if not quite all dogs, can learn to use various forms of their senses to greatly adapt and overcome the symptoms of genetic deafness, as Dr Strain mentioned without explaining details .
VII. Overcoming the “Perfect Storm” that Motivated excessive BAER testing
Many times parts of a “social - business system” can become unethical, corrupt or even “evil”, because of widely independent perhaps separately innocent actions by individuals and groups. The deafness-dogs-are viscious meme became to some extent “scams” likely at first with only a few people intending that to happen - at least not on a huge scale. The draft business case helped to grasp something about US dog-culture systems; they can be compared to weather and the 'perfect storm', except of course that weather doesn't (as far as we know) have intentions big or small, good or bad. “Perfect Storms” can’t be undone, but their damage can be reduced and perhaps eventually made to disappear from the daily lives of living dogs and their humans.
Update-NOTE: February, 2012; An alleged owner of a litter of purbred puppies decribed on an Internet list that the person had taken a BAER-deaf puppy back for a re-test, and was delighted on the second test to receive a certificate of bi-ear hearing for the puppy. This seemed to confirm that indeed by repeating BAER-testing a specific puppy, perhaps at different facilities, indeed reported Breed deafness rates can be reduced. When by repeating BAER tests, an owner can buy a bi-ear hearing certificate that can convert a useless deaf puppy to a potential Champion worth many US $thousands, after about 30 years of BAER testing human greed, corruption and subterfuge could destroy the reliability-integrity of BAER tests for serving as proofs of dog-human-like hearing.
 http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/baersite.htm; Dr Stain listed 71 (seventy one) BAER tests facilities in the US
 http://www.ufiservingscience.com/baercom.html: “...Less Expensive! ($2,500; tags& PC computer not included)…”
 “about” is used as an adjective for brevity, rather than a statistical standard deviation.
 http://www.sf-kennels.com/FAQ.htm : “…The test costs between $80-$200 depending on where it is done. …”
 http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/incidenc.htm “ ... 5,638 Dalmatians”, “ …1,511 English Cocker Spaniel”, DCA/ AKC
 Donald McCaig; “The Dog Wars” ;2007, Outrun Press
Galambos R and Hecox KE: Clinical applications of the auditory brain stem response. Otolaryngol Clin North Am 11: 709, 1978.
 Strain, G.M., B.L. Tedford, and R.M. Jackson. 1991. Postnatal development of the brainstem auditory-evoked potential in dogs. Am. J. Vet. Res. 52:410-415.
 Dr Strain; Presentation to Australian Cattle Dog Club, 2004
 Dr Stanley Coren, “How Dogs Think”; 2004; Free Press