Health & Wellbeing

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.

Fanconi Syndrome in Basenjis

The following labs currently test for fanconi syndrome by DNA test. The disease is autosomal recessive with normal, carrier and affected results.

Disease Gene Mutation Information
Mutation: 321bp deletion
Gene: FAN1
OMIM: 134600,227810
OMIA: 000366-9615
Chromosome: 3
Research Link:…



What is ‘Normal by Parentage History’ ?

Put simply this means that both parents of a puppy have been tested for the disease and the result of each parent is normal. Normal meaning that both parents are free from the mutant gene responsible for the disease, and therefore, the puppies will not become afflicted by or carry the disease. However, puppy buyers should note that in order to legally claim a puppy is Normal by Parentage History (sometimes referred to as Clear by Parentage) several conditions must be in place and it is in the puppy buyers best interest to ensure that the documentation and paperwork are in place:

  1. Both parents must be normal and in the case of Fanconi Syndrome this must be by the ‘direct test’. Normal by the linkage marker test resulting in a probable result  (‘probable normal/clear’) cannot be used in a ‘clear by parentage’ scenario. The word probable is indicative of the fact that the linkage marker test does not test for the precise mutant gene responsible for a condition. Linkage marker tests invariably give inaccurate results.
  2. Both parents must be DNA profiled (DNA fingerprint) – the DNA certificates should be available for buyers to review.
  3. The dog in question must be DNA profiled (DNA fingerprint)
  4. The dog in questions’ parentage must be proven by DNA. Research by the American Kennel Club found that (across all breeds) 10% of sires were not the sires of the dog in question noted on pedigree documentation; often a non-witnessed mating with another dog had taken place either before or after the desired mating was witnessed.  In the case of Normal by Parentage History, the verification of parentage certificate should be available for puppy buyers to view.

Why is knowing the parentage important to me, my puppy is a companion, I am not going to breed?

In short, accidental matings unbeknown to the owner can and do take place. This means that it is possible for a litter to be sired by a dog other than the one intended by the breeder. This unwitnessed mating might be one that is most undesirable for the health outcomes for the puppies. A female may also be mated by multiple  sires and successfully deliver puppies sired from such a multiple mating. DNA profiling of each puppy for parentage is the only certain method to ensure (where as mentioned below, DNA tests are available) that there are no unexpected health issues.

Desirable and Undesirable Matings?
To maintain genetic diversity it is important, especially in a breed with a relatively small gene pool, not to discard carriers of recessive diseases from the breeding pool. A desirable mating is one where the health outcomes for puppies are positive. A carrier can be mated to a normal or even an affected safely, without the offspring having the potential to be afflicted for the disease.  However, mating a carrier to a carrier, carrier to affected or affected to affected does have the potential to produce the disease in the puppies and these breeding combinations should be avoided and are therefore undesirable.  In the case of recessive disease both parents must carry the disease for it to be produced in the puppies. One can imagine the outcome if that accidental or non witnessed mating was between two carriers. Without DNA profiling each puppy no one would be any the wiser, until that is, a puppy unexpectedly produced the symptoms. Tambuzi provides puppy buyers with proof of parentage – this ensures some certainty and confidence to puppy buyers that (where there are DNA tests available) there will be no unexpected health issues.

What is Fanconi Syndrome?

Fanconi Syndrome is the failure of the renal tubules of the kidney to do their job. The renal tubules re-absorb nutrients into the dogs system. These nutrients including protein, glucose amino acids and water-soluble vitamins are essential to maintain normal function. Without proper function these nutrients are lost and left uncontrolled the acid/base blood balance will not be correct and will begin to affect the function of the internal organs. The dogs will loose condition and will eventually succumb to the condition.

What are the signs of Fanconi Syndrome?

There are a number of signs for Fanconi Syndrome; excessive water drinking, frequent urination and a general loss of condition are all signs of this condition. Prior to the DNA (linkage marker) test being made available most breeders and owners tested their dog’s urine once a month. This simple test using diabetic (glucose) strips will indicate if the dog is spilling sugar into the urine. If the strip test proved to be positive then further professional examination of blood glucose spillage should be undertaken; unlike diabetes sugar in the blood is low or normal with Fanconi Syndrome. Some vets have misdiagnosed Fanconi Syndrome as diabetes and offered diabetes treatment, unfortunately, generally with disastrous results.

What do I do if I suspect my dog has Fanconi Syndrome?

Firstly, if your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes make sure this diagnosis is correct. Has your vet heard of Fanconi Syndrome? Does he know the signs and has he heard of the control protocol? If the answer is no then seek a second opinion from a vet that has experience and/or more knowledge.  Ensure that the vet has a copy of the Basenji Fanconi Syndrome Protocol which you can down load from this website. Contact your breeder.There is also a support group for owners with affected dogs write to the following email address fanconi to join the list.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

In basic terms hip dysplasia is the improper growth of the hip joint. This can lead to the hip moving and this in turn, over time, can result in arthritis also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis. It can be a very painful condition. Although it is more normal for large breeds to be susceptible to CDD, medium and even small breeds can develop the condition; the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is an organisation that keeps a database of many canine conditions including CHD the Pug (a toy breed) is ranked the second worst with 63.8% of those tested (390 tests) being dysplastic and yet at the other end of the height spectrum the Borzoi ranked #157 with only 1.8% having a dysplastic result.

Damage caused to the cartilage that lines the hip joint, which results in CHD, may be onset by the result of trauma or it can be caused by inherited defects; an abnormally developed hip joint.  When the cartilage is afflicted various enzymes cause a process which results in the cartilage loosing its thickness and elasticity. This thickness and elasticity has the important job of absorbing the loads placed on the joint during movement e.g.  rising, running, walking etc.  The degeneration is progressive and the enzymes and other debris spill into the joint lubrication fluid. This results in the joint be inadequately lubricated and the cartilage not receiving the nutrients it requires. As the cartilage gets thinner it eventually allows the synovial fluid to make contact with nerve endings which causes pain. In some cases to counter-act this the dog’s body produces new bone around the edges of the joint (spurs) and this added bone can cause the range of motion in the joint to be decreased and additional pain.

What are the symptoms of Hip Dysplasia?

Dogs afflicted with CHD may exhibit many symptoms, lameness, unwillingness to walk upstairs,  difficulty rising from a sit or a dropped (sleeping) position. They may also exhibit personality changes due to pain. The only certain diagnosis is by X-ray. Some vets may be able to see, from the X-rays, that the animal is suffering from the condition but normally it is advisable to have the X-ray reviewed by a professional using a recognised scoring system.

It is not possible to predict when clinical signs will develop; environmental factors such as the amount of exercise and the weather etc can make its mark on the severity of the symptoms observed. There also is no correlation between the severity of changes found by X-ray and the clinical findings for example dogs with severe arthritis can jump, play and run as if there was nothing evident and yet some dogs have barely any arthritic X-ray changes yet they are severely lame and clearly in pain.

Are Basenjis affected by Hip Dysplasia?

Unfortunately some Basenjis have been known to suffer form CHD although the results are normally not ‘severe’ but borderline or moderate. Thankfully (based on statistical data available from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) which is based in USA) Basenjis evaluated in America under the OFA system are one of the least affected breeds at 3.2% of those tested being dysplastic and 23.7% having an ‘excellent’ score.    It is a condition for which conscientious breeders test breeding stock and do not breed from animals whose score is high. During puppyhood good nutrition, not over feeding or over exercising has been known to reduce the rate at which CHD occurs.

Is there a treatment for Hip Dyspalsia?

In severe cases the only treatment for the joint itself is by surgery. There are numerous drug treatments; rather like arthritis in humans glucosamine and condroiton and other natural remedies have proven to be effective in relieving the pain of the condition.

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.

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 is the Thyroid?

The thyroid is a gland that is located in the throat below the larynx. It’s purpose is to produce hormones which control the rate of metabolism;  Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). It is stimulated into the production of T4 and T3 by Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (cTSH) which is produced by the pituitary gland.

Canine Thyroid

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is also known as underactive thyroid. It is a condition where the thyroid gland, which produces hormones,   Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3),  is dysfunctional and not producing these hormones as required by the body. T4 and T3 are hormones that control the bodies metabolism.

Thyroid dysfunction including the most common, hypothyroidism, is a relatively common endocrine disease in dogs. The thyroid is a complex gland and results can be adversely affected by:

  • vaccination;
  • other drugs;
  • diet supplementation;
  • seasons;
  • other non thyroid related illness; and
  • general wellbeing.

Therefore,  issues concerning the thyroid are also considered to one of the most misdiagnosed.

What are the symptoms Hypothyroidism?

Most cases of hypothyroidism are caused by lymphocytic thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroiditis). Idiopathic (of no known cause) is another, rarer, cause of thyroid malfunction. Although lymphocytic thyroiditis is known to be hereditary, the cause of both types is unknown.

The most common symptoms include (%= approximate % of hypothyroid dogs that exhibit that symptom):

  • High blood cholesterol 80%
  • lethargy 70%
  • hair loss 65%
  • weight gain 60%
  • poor coat condition; often brittle, excessive shedding 60%
  • Anaemia 50%
  • skin conditions 25%+
  • irritability


What is Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia?

Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia (AIHA) is a disease that is relatively rare in Basenjis. Anaemia is not a disease in itself, it is rather a symptom of another disease or disorder. Unlike Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency which also causes anaemia AIHA is not hereditary.

In the case of AIHA the body attacks and destroys its own red blood cells. In affected dogs, red blood cells are still produced on a continuous basis by the bone marrow, but once released into the blood stream, they have a shortened life span.

What causes Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia?

Primary or idiopathic AIHA
The dogs immune system is not working as it should and it makes antibodies that target and destroy its own red blood cells which deplete. The cause of the deficient immune system is not known. It is estimated that 75% of cases of AIHA in dogs are primary.

Secondary AIHA
The surface of the red blood cells are altered by another disease or a toxin. Due to the alteration the dogs immune system does not recognise the cells and attack them as they are ‘foreign’ to the body. Secondary AIHA can be triggered by cancer, infection, drug reactions, Babesia (a parasite of the blood), snake bites, chemicals and even bee stings. In dogs cancer is the most common cause of secondary AIHA.

What are the symptoms of AIHA?

The symptoms follow that of anaemia:

  • very pale gums;
  • listless and tire easily;
  • fainting;
  • rapid hearty beat;
  • very dark urine;
  • yellow colouration to gums and other mucus membranes;
  • vomiting; and
  • poor appetite.


How is AIHA treated and what is the prognosis?

Treatment is dependent on the type of AIHA (primary or secondary).

If the condition is life threatening then a blood transfusion will be required. In primary AIHA cases the immune system is often suppressed temporarily by drugs such as corticosteroids (steroids) sometimes in combination to get the issue under control. In secondary cases treatment is generally directed to the underlying cause.

Prognosis for dogs with AIHA is dependent on the type, severity and general health of the animal at the time of diagnosis. In many cases the dogs condition can be adequately treated with drugs which often can be slowly withdrawn as the anaemia resolves and/or stabilizes.

What is Pancreatic Insufficiency?

pancreasThe pancreas is an organ found near a dogs liver and intestine. The pancreas consists of two different types of pancreatic tissues which are mixed together throughout the organ. The pancreas plays a key role in many processes of the body including the production and release of digestive enzymes (produced by one type of pancreatic tissues) and hormones responsible for glucose regulation (produced by the other type of pancreatic tissues). Digestive enzymes, amylase, lipase, proteases and others) are released from the pancreas into the small intestine. The enzymes aide digestion. When these enzymes are damaged or lacking, the inadequate amount of good enzymes result in malnutrition, known as Excocine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) despite the dog having a good appetite and good nutrition. EPI is also known as maldigestion of malabsorption.

In most cases it is only the tissues of the pancreas responsible for digestion that are destroyed. In a minority of cases the endocrine pancreas tissue, responsible for glucose regulation is also affected. If this is the case then the dog will develop diabetes, known as Endocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.

EPI seems to have a genetic basis but is not congenital. It may develop at any age, although usually shows up before 4 years of age. The disease seems to be autosomal recessive, which means that carriers will appear normal. It is commonly found in German Shepherd Dogs and Rough Collies. Although Basenjis can be affected by this disease it is certainly not prolific.


How is Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency diagnosed and treated?

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is diagnosed by a blood test (TLI). The TLI test looks for trypsin-like enzymes in the bloodstream. An EPI affected dog will have almost no TLI in the bloodstream. The dog must be fasted before the blood is drawn but unlike the faecal test only one blood test is required to make a diagnosis. Another popular test is a faecal protease test. A stool sample is taken and tested for protein digesting enzymes. Fasting is not required for this test but three consecutive samples are required to obtain a consistent result due to the large variability in faecal enzyme activity.  Another faecal test, tests for elastase. Only one sample is required. However, sometimes normal dogs will test negative for elastase. This means that EPI can be ruled out when the elastase test is positive but not confirmed when the elastase test is negative.

Generally treatment for EPI involves supplementation of the dog with digestive enzymes, this is an effective treatment. Generally, treatment continues for the rest of the dogs life or symptoms are likely to return. A change in diet may also be a good idea. Generally, in EPI patients, a diet with foods that are low in fibre and fat are useful for dogs that have trouble gaining weight. EPI dogs commonly have a secondary condition – a bacterial overgrowth in their intestines. This usually results in a vitamin B-12 deficiency as the bacteria consume this vitamin before the animal can. A course of antibiotics usually corrects the overgrowth problem along with vitamin B-12 supplementation.


PRA in Basenjis

The following laboratories test for PRA in Basenjis. The test is a DNA test. The disease is autosomal recessive with normal, carrier and affected results.

Disease Gene Mutation Information
Mutation: C.1216T>6
Gene: SAG
Chromosome: 25
Research Link:….

What are the signs of a Cerebrovascular Accident?

What are the signs of a Cerebrovascular Accident? (CVA). They are very much like strokes. Signs of strokes in dogs are different to the signs in humans. In humans a drooping face or partial paralysis of one side of the body are common signs. Such signs are rarely associated with strokes in dogs.

In the case of a CVA the dog generally appears mildly drunk and uncoordinated. They may circle and fall down. In Basenjis these symptoms seem to me much worse than with other breeds. They might look severely drunk, like a new born Bambi with a head injury. They are prone to knuckle over and fall down regularly. As Dr Aine Seavers writes ‘ they truly look horrendous’. Dr Seavers is concerned that Basenjis showing these signs may be put to sleep, when normally even the most horrendous cases will fully recover given the right medication and time.

The other thing to note is that unlike other breeds, elderly Basenjis can have more than one episode. The CVA’s usually occur either around Easter as they strut their old bodies like they are 2 years old. They are not 2 years old, so they have an episode or if the weather suddenly turns cold or there is an extended cold period. They recover and the newer medications we have make them more comfortable and appear to return to normal faster as well. Unlike with a stoke a second episode doesn’t mean anything. Often a dog will go many months to several years without further episode. If however if you get multiple episodes in a short space of time then that case needs to be looked at differently.

I think my dog has had a Cerebrovascular Accident what do I do?

I think my dog has had a Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) what can I do?

Firstly take your dogs to your vet. Once diagnosed your vet will give you some medication. Be sure to advise your vet that Basenjis often look really bad when having a CVA but given the correct medication they normally recover very well.

In addition to the medications prescribed by your vet there are a few other things that you can do to assist your dogs speedy recovery:

  • Place the dog in a room with a comfortable temperature, i.e. not too hot or too cold;
  • Crate the dog if possible so the dog can’t do more damage by wandering off when so dizzy;
  • Keep lights dim and minimal stimulation re noise etc.;
  • Avoid extremes of temperature;
  • Syringe teaspoons of water into mouth every 2-3 hrs first day – don’t worry too much about them eating for the first 24-48hrs but on the second day you can try them with food;
  • Avoid any fatty or high meat diet meals for a while; and
  • Vegies and some boiled chicken or white fish usually the second day. Serve in small balls handed to the dog for a few days as eyes moving so fast and the dog so dizzy that they can’t work out how to get the head in the bowl and pick up the food.

Note: it can take 4 days for a dog to begin to improve. They are normally back to normal by about day 10.

What is an Umbilical Hernia?

What is an Umbilical Hernia?
Umbilical hernias are not uncommon in Basenjis. This type of hernia is generally congenital, and is thought to be inherited. It may not been seen in a very young puppy but as they get a little older and onto their feet the hernia appears. Normally and umbilical hernia will present itself as a soft, round mass located at the umbilicus (navel or belly button). Sometimes this mass will go up and down, especially if pressed in a young puppy. Pressing and holding the mass when handling the puppy can cause it to be retained in the abdomen and the protrusion will no longer be visible. Closure of the umbilicus can sometimes take up to 6 months so it is worth holding the mass in as long as possible when handling the puppy. An umbilical hernia can also appear hard this is generally when fat has become trapped outside the abdomen.  An umbilical hernia may become more pronounced and/or visible when a dog ages. This could be due to increased pressure in the abdomen caused by the dog being overweight and due to trauma.

How are they treated?
Most small hernias that no longer move up and down contain only fat. This type of umbilical hernia is of little significance. When handling puppies the mass should be be held in for as long as possible. Closure of the umbilicus with the mass inside the abdomen has been known to occur up to 6 months of age, sometimes longer. Occasionally the mass will include part of the intestine which can cause more serious complications, including blockage if the part of the intestine gets trapped when the umbilicus closes. This type of hernia may need surgery to repair it. Umbilical hernias are generally treated based on risk. Most will not cause a blockage and if surgery is carried out it will generally be at a time when the dog is undergoing other surgical treatment, e.g. desexing.

What is an Inguinal Hernia?

What is an Inguinal Hernia?
Inguinal hernia are much more serious than umbilical hernias. They present themselves in the groin. They are more commonly found in females and especially those that are pregnant, experiencing bloating or constipation. In the case of an inguinal hernia tissue that belongs in the abdomen presses out though a week area. This area surrounds the femoral artery and nerve. The protrusion can be on one or both sides. In dogs such hernias are generally found on one side. The left side being the most common. The mass is not painful to touch. It is generally has a doughy consistency. Inguinal hernia have been diagnosed in Basenjis but are generally rare.

An inguinal hernia has been found what next?
When a vet has diagnosed an inguinal hernia, generally it should be removed as soon as possible. Surgery is generally successful.

Note: Basenjis with inguinal hernias should not be bred.

What is Immunoproliferative Small Intestinal Disease (IPSID)?

Immunoproliferative Small Intestinal Disease (IPSID) is a disease that is known by a number of other names; malabsorption, diarroeal syndrome, immunoproliferative enteropathy. In Basenjis in particular, a hereditary lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis has been identified. The mode of inheritance is known.  It is possible that the disease is autosomal recessive with incomplete penetrance. Other factors, triggers, maybe required for symptoms in Basenjis that are ‘predisposed’ to the condition to present themselves. A dietary factor could be required ti ‘trigger’ the disease.

How is IPSID Diagnosed and Treated?

Usually IPSID is seen in young adult to middle aged Basenjis. Generally it starts with loss of appetite followed by bouts of sever diarrhoea. The trigger for Basenji predisposed to this condition may be stress related. A stressful event such a travel or boarding may ‘bring on’ the disease. Weight loss is common due to loss of nutrients and protein from the gut.

Symptoms include:

  • weight loss;
  • vomiting;
  • diarrhoea;
  • increased and decreased appetite;
  • emaciation;
  • skin lesions;
  • hyperpigmentation of the ears and thickening of the ear leather;
  • hairloss in the ear and on the stomach;
  • hypergastrinemia;
  • lethargy and/or depression.

Generally, diagnosis is not simple.  There are many diseases and issues that cause the symptoms. A process of elimination and/or several diagnosis processes are employed;  blood (serum protein levels, low albumin, high globulin and high IgA levels) tests and  fecal tests can rule out some other issues such as parasites and bacterial infections. A biopsy is one of the most important diagnosis tools. Other possible causes of the symptoms including gardia and food allergies should be ruled out.

There is no cure for the condition. IPSID can be controlled if caught early. Diet may need to be changed. Prednisone can be used in a treatment regime starting at a high dose and the gradually reducing the dose. Prednisone suppresses the hyperactive immune response and decreases inflammation.


What is Cystinuria?

cystinuriaWhat is Cystinuria?
Cystinuria is a genetic defect. The defect affects the kidney tubules. This in turn affects the kidney’s ability to filter cystine (an amino acid). The filtering process prevents this amino acid from going the urine. When this filtering action fails cystine passes into the urine. Over time crystals and/or stones can form. These stones can enter the urethra and cause an obstruction preventing the flow of urine. This form of blockage is more common in males due to their anatomy. Once there is a blockage the bladder is unable to empty. The bladder is likely to rupture which can be fatal.

Cystinuria is congenital in dogs where the issue is more common. Cystinuria is more common in Newfoundlands, Labradors, and Scottish Deerhounds. However, it can take many years for the crystals/stones to form in order that symptoms present themselves. Sometimes symptoms do not present themselves.

Unlike other bladder stones, cystine stones will not generally dissolve or breakdown with treatment. There are some drugs that can be given to try and break down the stones. These drugs are risky and are expensive. Drugs are not typically advised unless there are no other options. Generally, the stones are removed surgically.

In Basenjis, the symptoms may present at 17 months-11 years old. Cystinuria has been known in Basenjis for a long time. It is mentioned in the Complete Basenji by Elspet Ford. Although cases are rare this issue seems to be on the increase.

Mode of Inheritance
The mode of inheritance in Newfoundlands and Labradors is autosomal recessive. However, there is evidence pointing to the mode of inheritance being  autosomal recessive with incomplete penetrance. That is a trigger is thought to be required for dogs predisposing of cystinuria to develop stones. The mode of inheritance in other breeds, although thought to be autosomal recessive, is not confirmed. The University of Pennsylvania are researching this issue in dogs and cats.


  • obvious pain when attempting to urinate;
  • poor urine flow;
  • blood in the urine;
  • a fowl rotten egg smell to the urine due to the presence of cystine crystals;
  • dogs become despondent;
  • walk with back arched due to pain in the kidney location; and/or
  • cannot pass urine due to a blockage (this needs immediate veterinary treatment)


In cases where a dog is diagnosed with this condition but is not presenting:

  • crystals and/or stones;
  • problems urinating; and/or
  • signs of pain or discomfort;

a special diet may be advised. This diet is usually very low in protein which can help reduce the risk of stones forming. Some supplements can also be administered to reduce the risk of stones forming. In the case where stones have formed usually the only course is to have them surgically removed. Removal will prevent possible blockages in the urinary tract. When a blockage has occurred a process called retrograde-hydropulsion is employed. This process pushes the stone back into the bladder. Once the stone is in the bladder it can be removed.


Once diagnoses the prognosis is generally good. A change of diet is generally recommended. Further testing might be required to ensure that stones do not form. Once removed stones can re-form so continued observation is required.

New Information

It seems that most Basenji males block with this condition in the winter months. Basenji males have a season in the Autumn. Basenjis do not tend to drink as much coupled with the holding on (to mark) during the breeding season allows for the urine to be ultra-concentrated during the breeding season. The concentration of urine to any dog predisposed for this issue (has a genetic predisposition) allows for the formation of cystine crystal which then in turn form stones. It is thought that the formation of crystals and stone can take place within a few months hence blockages occur during the winter months. The fact that most Basenjis are house dogs and will hold-on as long as possible because they prefer not to go outside in the cold could also be a factor in the concentration of urine.


Although there is no known prevention as such. Keeping male Basenjis hydrated before, during and after the breeding season may assist with preventing the issue in any that may be predisposed for it. Most Basenjis who have blocked were also fed a kibble diet. Feeding a raw based diet where water can be added to the food to increase the water consumption and therefore the hydration of the dog may also be of some benefit.

It is a good idea for owners to watch all males urinate at least once per day. If the flow is strong then the dog is fine. If the flow is not strong and the dog looks laboured then further observation will be required – remember that during the breeding season Basenjis will urinate a little bit a lot – it is not the amount that is important it is if it’s a good stream or a dripping trickle that is important to observe. If the Basenji is generally clean, as most males are, and you notice that his bedding is damp or wet with urine in the morning – observe the Basenji urinating.

Should your Basenji try to urinate and no urine presents and the dog is obviously trying but is unable to go and is uncomfortable the dog may have blocked. If so this is a medical emergency. You need to get your Basenji to the vet immediately. If you do not act quickly this can be a fatal condition.