Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (Haemolytic Anaemia)

The following labs currently test for Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD) or Haemolytic Anaemia (HA) by DNA test. Through clinical assessment and andecdotally reported longevity os PK-deficient dogs, it appears that Basenjis have a more severe haemolytic anaemia leading to earlier death an other breeds affected by this disease such as Beagles. Basenjis with this condition do not live past 5 years most dying much earlier where as in Beagles they can live to 9 years. The disease is autosomal recessive with normal, carrier and affected results. Testing began in the 1970s using blood samples. The good news is that due to the diligence of breeders this condition is thought to be eradicated from the breed; only one carrier has been reported in the past 15+ years.

Disease Gene Mutation Information
Mutation: single base deletion
Gene: PK-LR Gene ID: 490425
Chromosome: 7

What is Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency?

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD);  Haemolytic Anaemia (HA) is a recessive disease that has affected Basenjis as far back as the first dogs exported from Africa. It was first, properly, diagnosed in the 1960s.  In 1972 a blood test was developed. The blood test was able to estbalish dogs that were carriers, affecteds and normals. Since then a DNA test has been developed. As a result of breeders testing stock the disease is now extremely rare and has been virtually eliminated from the breed. Nowadays, an idiopathic autoimmune type of HA, a non-inherited HA that appears in all dog breeds, is the most likely cause of any HA in Basenjis.

PKD is an inherited deficiency in the pyruvate kinase enzyme normally found in red blood cells. In simple terms the red blood cells need this enzyme to survive a normal duration in the blood stream. In affected animals the red blood cells are destroyed early leading to HA. This disease is fatal and affected dogs normally die by about 2 years - 4 years is normally the outer limit of survival.

Due to thorough testing and careful selection of breeding stock no puppy bred at Tambuzi will be affected by PKD.

It should be noted that another non hereditary form of anaemia (auto-immune anaemia or AIHA) has been found in Basenjis and many other dog breeds. This condition is however, rare in Basenjis. The dog's system produces antibodies that attack it's own red blood cells, causing the dog's anaemia.  This type of anaemia is treatable and given the correct treatment dog a with it can recover.

What are the signs of Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency?

PKD is not pleasant and is fatal. Affected dogs will normally:

  • have low energy;
  • white gums;
  • may faint; and
  • a common symptom are “golden” coloured stools.

Dogs affected will typically succumb to the disease between the ages of 2-3 years old. A survival to 4 years is considered the outside age range for survival.

Due to thorough testing and careful selection of breeding stock no puppy bred at Tambuzi will be affected by PKD.

What causes Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency?

PKD or HA is caused by the lack of the enzyme (pyruvate kinase) in the red blood cells of an affected animal. This enzyme is required for red blood cells to survive for a normal length of time. When the enzyme is missing the red blood cells break down and are destroyed prematurely.