basenji breed information

common health issues

Cataracts describes the transparency of the lens in the eye.While cataracts are a common finding in older dogs, many breeds, including Cavaliers, have a genetic predisposition to juvenile cataracts, i.e., occurring in young animals. Hereditary cataracts can occur as early as six months of age and progress to complete loss of vision by two years old. The good news is that most affected lenses can be treated surgically. Cost of treatment: $1,500 to $3,000 per lens.

Fanconi Syndrome is a defect in the tubules of the kidneys, leading to decreased resorption of water, sugar, minerals and amino acids. Loss of these substances leads to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. Symptoms include increased water intake and urination between one and seven years of age, and may be managed medically for years or may progress rapidly to kidney failure. Treatment aims to control the symptoms of kidney disease.

Pyruvate kinase deficiency is a disease of red blood cell metabolism. A shortened red blood cell life span leads to anemia and can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Exercise intolerance, pale mucous membranes and weakness can signal anemia. Untreated, this condition is fatal either due to anemia or liver failure. Treatment is possible with a bone marrow transplant.

The retina is responsible for transmitting light to the brain where it is interpreted as an image. PRA causes deterioration of retinal cells and causes blindness. It can affect puppies as young as a few weeks old, or may appear later in life. There is no treatment or cure, but blind dogs usually can lead quite happy lives.

Corneal dystrophy is weakness in the layers of the cornea. Severely affected dogs are prone to painful corneal erosions and ulcers. Some types of corneal dystrophy result in lipid or cholesterol deposits on the cornea, which are generally painless and do not interfere with vision. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the lesions.

Persistent pupillary membranes are abnormal strands of tissue in the eye. They are remnants of blood vessels that supplied nutrients to the developing lens before birth. Depending on their location, they may interfere with vision by causing opacities in the surface of the eye or cataracts. In most dogs, persistent pupillary membranes cause no problems.

The Basenji is one of the oldest dog breeds – their presence has been documented as far back as ancient Egypt. The breed made its way to Central Africa, where it was prized for its intelligence, speed and outstanding hunting skills. Known as the “barkless dog”, the Basenji excelled as a hunter in part due to its lack of bark. (More on that in a bit!)

The breed was introduced to England in 1895, but unfortunately many were lost to a distemper outbreak. The breed finally gained a foothold in both the United States and England in 1937. Though it was developed as a hunting dog, today the breed is mostly kept as a companion.

As hunters, the Basenji often worked away from his master, and therefore developed unusual courage. Today, this breed-wide courage shows itself as an independent streak, so patience is needed in training sessions. The breed is both active and playful, and when excited, they make an adorable “yodel” sound instead of a bark. At around 25 lbs., they are a great size for any home, provided they’re given the opportunity to get rid of their frisky energy.

These playful pups are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Basenjis are prone to include blood disorders like pyruvate kinase deficiency; kidney problems such as Fanconi Syndrome; and eye conditions such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy, persistent pupillary membranes and progressive retinal atrophy.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your athletic Basenji inherits more than just a fantastic singing voice, you’re covered.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

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  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)