Basenji Companions

Devoted to Basenjis as Pets

Preparation of “Affected” Basenjis

Designated on New Fanconi Genetic Test

by Cheryl Silver
Article first appeared in the Basenji Magazine

(Additional notations added 2013 by Betsy Polglase)

Many of you know me already, but let me say by way of clarification that I have shared my life with Hank, aka Hankster Prankster, for nearly 9 years having rescued him from the pound here in Austin, Texas. He was a stray that was never claimed, came home with me and never left. He was so young that he still squatted to potty.

I gave him a birthday of January 1st and that makes him 9 years and 8 months as of this article. I began strip testing him the month of his third birthday and on the month of his 4th birthday he was spilling sugar. That was on a weekend. I printed out the protocol and on Monday we were at the vet’s office for a work-up; that night he started on the protocol.

So, you see, he has been on the protocol well over 1/2 of his life and he is doing great!

I am also the list administrator for the fanconidogs – l so I generally have some interaction with new members just as they are joining the group and are terribly upset about the new development. Over the years, those of us on the fanconidogs – l have come to see some re-current patterns in terms of management that may be instructive as far as preparation with any dog that may manifest the condition down the road. This is particularly relevant to the “Probable Affecteds.” (or “Affecteds” on new, genetic test specific for Fanconi).

Strip test, strip test, strip test.

(*NOTE: It is now recommended that you get a venous blood gas as soon as your dog has the designation of “affected” on the NEW genetic Fanconi test – regardless of whether he/she is spilling glucose in the urine or not. Fanconi can be treated earlier than when glucose starts to spill in the urine. Please refer to our article, “Guidelines for “Affected” Basenjis from New Genetic Fanconi Test,” for more information.)

Dogs with fanconi syndrome must take pills.

For some families, administering the medication is a real challenge. In those families, this can become a highly emotional issue because they know that their dog’s future will be profoundly affected if she does not take her pills.

So, even before a basenji manifests the condition, the owner/breeder can begin conditioning the dog with taking little balls of food from a person’s hand daily. Ideally, the food will be the texture of a food that could eventually be a vehicle for concealing pills. If a dog develops a willingness to do this on a regular basis, life will be quite easy.

For years now, Hank (my once super picky eater) was eager to gobble down “meatballs” of canned dog food in which I have routinely concealed as many as six pills at a time!!! It is a breeze. And each dog in the house gets a “meatball,” too.

Another management issue involves dealing with increased water intake and increased and frequent urination.

For some dogs this frequent urination can present a challenge when the dog needs to urinate during the night or frequently during the day when no one is home.

I am knocking on wood as I share that this has never been an issue with Hank. He drinks a lot of water, but he sleeps through the night till about 6 a.m. with no problem. He does potty about 10 p.m.. Fortunately, I am am here to let him out to potty through the day. It has not been a problem. But, for many it is. I don’t know what factors into this development in terms of being able to hold urine through the night.

That said, in my opinion, it would serve everyone well if each “affected” basenji was introduced to any one of a number of options including pottying in a litter box arrangement or use of a doggy door that opens into a secure area. Then, should the need arise to potty, the dog will have the skills to handle the situation regardless of whether a person is home or not.

There are medications that can be used in a fully controlled Fanconi dog, that may help strengthen the bladder sphincter valve and that often help dogs, and their people, sleep soundly through the night, so don’t despair if the doggy door or the litterbox doesn’t work out.

­Finally, I encourage folks to acquaint their vet with the protocol,

as well as the JAVMA (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, August 1, 2004, Vol. 225, No. 3) article showing that it works, and to encourage them to obtain the equipment to do the venous blood gases which are the critical diagnostic tool for establishing dosages of the sodium bicarbonate tablets–the cornerstone of the protocol. The absence of this equipment proves to be a real challenge for folks all over the country. If your vet does not have this equipment, find out now who in your community does have it, and shop around, as there can be a huge difference in the cost of doing routine tests, from one vet clinic to another.

That does it for the basics as I see it. Thanks to Dr. Gonto for his input on this document.

Cheryl Silver and the gang in Austin,TX

(Sadly, Hank is now deceased, having lived a wonderful and full life with Cheryl – Betsy Polglase)

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