Basenji Companions

Devoted to Basenjis as Pets

Fanconi Syndrome vs. “Kidney Failure”

Updated 2013, Betsy Polglase, with input from Dr. Steve Gonto

According to Dr. Gonto, there is a great difference between what people refer to as “kidney failure” and what is called Fanconi Syndrome—both of which are defects in the renal tubule system of the kidneys, but in different areas of the renal tubule loop. These two syndromes have diametrically opposed symptoms and methods of treatment.

In “kidney failure,” he says, the dog retains fluid, buffers, protein and metabolic waste products. In Fanconi Syndrome, the dog’s renal tubules are not performing their proper job of filtering buffers, protein and nutrients back into the system, and these protein, buffers, nutrients and water are being “slushed on through,” unutilized, at a great rate.

A Fanconi dog must be given additional protein, water, nutrients, and buffers to maintain the integrity of all of the organs; whereas a dog in “kidney failure” most likely needs to have Iess protein, and often less of other things like phosphorus.

“If you treat Fanconi Syndrome as you would ‘kidney failure,’” Dr. Gonto stated, “you will certainly kill the dog or severely hasten his demise.” (Early Fanconi dogs were frequently treated as if they were in “kidney failure” with exactly these results.) Note that if the Fanconi dog is untreated, the kidneys may be one of the organs to fail first for lack of nutrients, but it is not necessarily the first organ to fail.

Copyright 2013 Betsy Polglase. All rights reserved

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