Medical advices and other things
Being grown up with a lot of animals and dogs, I have taken for granted some of the following information that are really fundamental to make our dogs healthy ad happy with the least effort.
To be healthy and strong a puppy needs to have an healthy and strong mother; she must have followed a proper diet before the conception and during her pregnancy and have been subjected to regular vaccinations (leptospirosis, distemper, parvovirosis and parainfluence: you can give the boosters in one yearly dose). In this way the puppies are protected in the first two months of their lives against those serious illnesses. Otherwise, even treating our puppies with the best cares, it is very probable that they die because of not curable illnesses. Within the first two months of life, you should do two boosters against worms: just some little drops in puppies’ mouths. Moreover, it is particularly important a suitable feeding; it must be given at regular intervals. The first year of life is the most important from this viewpoint: if you give your puppy too much or not good food, you can ruin it. According to the areas in which the dogs live, there are some preventive, highly advised cures; with a pill a month during the summer, for example, your dog can avoid to die for an infarct if it is stuck by a mosquito having Filaria (this is not a problem for human beings) or other illnesses such as Leishmaniosi damaging dog’s viscera and skin and causing its death. If you want to bring your puppy to shows or abroad, you are obliged to give it every year the antirabic vaccination.
In Italy there is little veterinary knowledge about Basenji. They are studied at university as a “record of cases” but it is very rare to find some posters of them in the waiting rooms of vet surgeries. In the northern Europe countries and in America some researches were done about more or less hereditary diseases of this breed, but it is really very difficult to identify them in our own dogs as in Italy, according to this matter, there aren’t any rules or advised examinations. In Switzerland and in USA as well, very ill dogs are pointed out and their reproduction is forbidden.
There can be allergies, bladder stones, diabetes and problems to eyes such as for example the progressive retina atrophy (PRA) leading to the dog’s blindness; this is a disease one can realize only when the dog is about 4 years old. Another possible disease is the persistent pupilary membrane (PPM); it is present at different degrees in the eyes of many Basenji. This disease begins during gestation but should disappear when the puppy is about 5 weeks old; it can lead in its most serious forms to cataracts. Another very common problem connected with Basenji is represented by false pregnancies; anyway, everything comes back to normal without any human interventions.
Fanconi syndrome (renal duct disorder) is hereditary in both men and animals. When they are ill, the essential stuffs are not absorbed, being later secreted by urine. In many dogs this illness is discovered when they are 4 or 5 years old; Basenji becomes weaker and weaker and glucose is no longer in its blood. The only thing we can do in this case is to replace the amino acids in order to bring the dog to its previous life.
Also Hemolytic anaemia is hereditary; in this case, blood has “weak” red cells dying very soon. The bone marrow has to replace them too quickly but it can’t. The result is that the dog dies within two years. Fortunately in the1960s the selection done by breeders has made this disease almost unknown to today’s Basenji.
Hypothyroidism is not a real disease; Basenji is the breed of dogs having the quickest thyroid growth. Being only some months old, puppies are as big as adults even if their full maturation takes place within the second year of life.
IPSID, a small intestine disease, is characterised by acute diarrhoea, loss of weight and lack of appetite: it is typical of stressing periods.
“Breeding cough” is an infection caused by “bordetello bronchoseptica” bacterium, also told “dog parainfluence virus”. It can be caught at dog shows or in kennels. It is very dangerous for puppies and elderly dogs. The cough lasts about six weeks but the dogs keeps the infection for 40 weeks. There is, anyway, a preventive vaccine.
Pyrometra is an infection caused by a staphylococcus. Typical of the period after childbirth, it infects the womb and can be seen through “losses”. If it is not healed soon it can lead to hysterotomy and even to death.
Navel hernia is typical of Basenji and is not considered a problem; it can disappear if some periodical pressures are done when the dog is still a puppy; in the worst cases it can be operated, the puppy being 6 months old. In the first “stocks” Basenji had inguinal hernia, but fortunately, thanks to selections, this disease is now very rare.
As to “worms”, they must be controlled when the puppy is six weeks old; later you have to do the “booster” every six months.
Gastroenteritis or distemper can lead to the puppy’s death in a little time; leptospirosis (deadly even for man) can cause our friends’ death in just three days; the touch with stagnant water and mice can cause this terrible disease.
Basenji go on heat once a year but sometimes this fact can cause more problems than the two usual times of other breeds. Both males and females can get depressed, become rude, stative and eat very little or, in other cases, complain looking for every kind of cares. Every drastic solution is not advised: you must think it is a friend and not a dog! Some sedatives, but only if advised by your vet, some walk and some more cuddles are the solution.
It is very hard to orientate oneself in the world of dog tattoos. There is a dog general registry office in every Italian Commune and it would be obliged for any purebred or crossbred dogs: there are some rules and fines but their application and control are very rare. Vets do very little to inform people about this matter. Moreover, there are ENCI tattoos for purebred dogs but they do not deal with Italian State and are hardly controlled at dogs shows; even microchips are not effective: it often happens that when applied they can’t be read by proper machines. In short, there are two kinds of tattoos; but who can do them? The first kind of tattoo is made by the Residence Commune or by the vet on the left back inner leg, the second can be made by the vet, by an ENCI delegate or by an ENCI breeder on the right back inner leg or on the extremity of the right ear. The costs can vary: they depend on who makes tattoos, where they are made, if anaesthesia is used; anyway, it happens a lot of times that the ink is absorbed by the dog’s skin or covered by its hair.
There are then First Aid interventions. Basenji often come to blows; this happens most of all among individuals belonging to the same sex for the social prevalence. A female leads the pack but the fight can also take place among males according to the female leading the pack. Anyway, there is a way to divide them: you should use water: it is the nastiest trick you can play on them; if it isn’t enough you can raise them by their tails. You shouldn’t stay among them because their teeth can cause very serious damages; during the quarrel they show all their obstinacy and spirit of indestructibility. Don’t worry: because of the musculature and the tonicity, typical of this breed, it doesn’t often matter to go to the vet. It is very important to know that any abrasions must be disinfected with Citrosil or with other liquid or cream disinfectants used also by human beings. It is important not to disinfect with dusts or dry treatments because they could stop the emission of stuffs penetrated during the “trauma”. And curiosities? Insects stings causing reinflations are normal; one has to give soon an injection and to treat the dog with antibiotics for 5 days; then the vet should control the animal after the treatment. There are moreover the cuts caused by cutting things: agility plays sometimes nasty tricks!
In this text I have tried to collect all the medical information about the main diseases of this breed, but don’t worry: Basenji are very strong dogs having less problems than other more famous breeds. You shouldn’t forget that they lived for 3.000 years hunting in African woods and meadows.