Finding a Vet who knows Basenji?
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  • Basenji Mix

    After reading "Sandie…rabies shot" thread, I now have a concern that I don't have the right vet for Duke. After all, the (3) vets in the office who have seen Duke when we first got him, didn't even know he was a Basenji! One of them told me he may have up to 10 different breeds in him! So, after reading the above-mentioned thread, I would feel more comfortable to find a vet who knows and treats other Basenji breeds. Can anyone refer me to a Basenji breeder in the metro Detroit/Ann Arbor area? I have a hunch they would be able to advise me as to what vet in my area knows and treats Basenji. A vet who doesn't know the breed can easily misdiagnose and improperly treat my boy. I'd feel terrible if he suffered because I chose the wrong vet.
    Thank you.

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  • Basenji Mix

    Okay, go here: BCOA
    And then you can find breeder's under About Basenjis with the link Breeder Directory.


    Haus Annandael Basenjis

    I found this quote on another thread, "Wanted . . . adoption". So I looked up the BCOA and found a breeder in Howell, about an hour away. I have emailed the breeder, and anticipate a response about a knowledgable veterinarian. I thought posting my question would be useful for new Basenji owners who knew little about the breed as I did , but continue and strive for the best as a not just a responsible pet owner, but a Basenji owner.

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  • We are very lucky to have found a local vet here in Brisbane who knows all about Basenjis and Lowchens. Both breeds are not common here.

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  • L

    My mother and I used the same vet for a long time. Before I got Abbey she happened to mention to him that I was planning to get a basenji and he told her to tell me not to. He said basenjis are practically wild and and have behavioral problems, are destructive, so on. This is not my first basenji, so I basically knew what to expect. Yes, Abbey is a tough little girl to raise, but we have done okay so far, and I can't imagine not having her. This is the same vet who gave my six month old baby basenji a three year rabies dose and nearly killed her and then denied that the rabies shot could have done it. Basenjis are different from other dogs and you have to find a vet who respects that. My current vet is a little more in tune to basenji needs and we're happy with him. My mother now takes her chihuahua to him too.

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  • Im really confused about this 1 year and 3 year rabies vaccine… Is it a good idea to use the 3 year or should i just do the 1 year... what really is the difference if its the same dose but given 3 years apart ?? And befor i give Sandie her first heartworm chewy is there any side effects i should watch for ?? I didnt really realize B's are so much different from normal dogs when it comes to these kinds of things...

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  • After reading the responses in this forum I am really concerned regarding a vet. I checked the breeder directory and did not find anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area. Does anyone know of a good vet in the Bay Area? This will be the second Basenji for us. After loosing our puppy last year I do not think we could go through it again. The vet that we used never heard of the breed and I feel that if the vet knew more about this breed we may of knew sooner that he was terminally ill.

    My concerns is that a vet will not know proper shot dosages. In a few months we will be getting our pup and starting puppy shots.
    Any recomendations will be greatly appreciated.

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  • Basenji Mix

    I read online, some time ago, can't remember the website, that Basenjis have a similar metabolism/anatomy as that of a Greyhound. Is that true? Is anyone familiar with that comparison? Would it be a good assumption, that since there are so few Basenjis, to alternatively find a veterinarian who knows what medical treatments vary between the common domestic dog and the semi-domestic Greyhound/Baseni?

    If the two breeds have similar anatomies, maybe it would be wise to look up Greyhound breeders or Greyhound rescue associations in our areas for a vet referral. I'm just grasping here. If I don't get some piece of mind with either approach, maybe the next best approach is to know what intelligent key questions I need to ask my veterinarian. I don't want to offend the vet by not being educated first as I am new with this breed. I want is to feel confident in the veterinarian I choose for Duke.

    I look forward to opinions. Thanks!

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  • @Sunny:

    Im really confused about this 1 year and 3 year rabies vaccine… Is it a good idea to use the 3 year or should i just do the 1 year...

    The only difference between the 1 yr and the 3 yr vaccine is the age the vaccine was given. Both vaccines are one and the same. When a pup comes in for thier first rabies booster - usually between 12-16 weeks - the vaccine is only licensed for one year. Why? Because the animal has never been vaccinated for it and the state requires a booster 1 year later to ensure a proper immune response. So when the pup turns 1 year 12 weeks or 1 year 16 weeks - depending on what age they were when they originally came in - they will get the exact same vaccine they got a year earlier but this time around it will be marked on the rabies license as being good for 3 years (caveat is of course those states that require yearly vaccines). An adult dog with no vaccine histroy is treated much like a pup - will be given a 1yr vaccine as the first booster then 1 yr later will get the same vaccine but it will be marked as being good for 3 yrs.

    All vaccine dosages are 1ml - no matter if you are a Mastiff or a Chihuahua, kitten or a puppy. Each animal gets the same amount. The vaccines work on a specific species to illicite an immune response and is not based on weight nor is it weight dependent/specific. If a vet is only giving half the vaccine because a dog is small the dog is not forming a proper immune response and will be at risk for possibly contracting the disease if exposed. In some parts of the country this would seriously concern me.

    I really cringe when folks make blanket statements that "XYZ caused abc" with regard to vaccines when the truth is really not known. Case in point. Sage was given a rabies vaccine - a month later she had autoimmune hemolytic anemia - 3 months later she was dead. The first thought people have is that rabies vaccines = AIHA. Right? Wrong! How do I know? I drew blood on Sage the same day she came in for her rabies. Her HCT or PCV was 35 - normal is 36-50. This is the measure of her RBC's. She was low normal - nothing odd about that as the PCV can wax and wane depending on hydration - so neither the doc nor I were concerned. One month later her gums were pale and her PCV was 25 - she was in full blown anemia.

    Looking back (hindsight is 20/20 sort of thing) I realized that she was showing signs of problems long before the rabies vaccine - signs I chalked up to warm weather, being lazy in the 110 degree summer heat, and getting older (she died before she reached 7 years of age). But in fact she was already in the beginning stages of AIHA and I did not know it - no one did as it was such a slow progression that her body, a body that was in prime athletic condition, was able to compensate for.

    Did the rabies cause it? No but it might have pushed her over the edge more quickly. Had I not tested her blood the rabies would have been blamed though - unfairly, IMO. I feel that unless tests are done at the same time the vaccine is done then the cause is just NOT known. While the vaccine might push animals over the edge with regard to certain conditions - the condition was most likely already there - in the works. In the end - the cause is just unknown - she just had a horrble disease which she would have had whether she was vaccinated or not.

    Sometimes - life just stinks like that.


    Gm Ls Engine

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  • L

    But there absolutely are well documented cases of reactions to rabies and other immunizations, and all dog owners have to make what they think is the right decision for their animal. My puppy was perfectly healthy and had a checkup and bloodwork prior to getting the rabies shot. She was sick for a week after the shot and laid around, eating very little and not playing much, which for a basenji puppy is not normal. Then out of the blue she suffers a seizure and is suddenly diagnosed with hepatitis. All her liver enzymes were elevated. The liver enzymes gradually over about a month came back to normal, which they were before she received the rabies shot. Until someone proves me wrong, I say the rabies shot caused the elevated liver enzymes and subsequent seizure in my dog. Having been a nurse for nearly 30 years I do know that immunizations can cause elevated liver enzymes in humans, because that can be part of eliciting an immune response. That's not what you want to happen in a 6 month old puppy, but it certainly is possible.

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  • @Lenora:

    But there absolutely are well documented cases of reactions to rabies and other immunizations, and all dog owners have to make what they think is the right decision for their animal.

    I never said that animals do not have reactions to vaccines - they do though in actuality most reactions are to the adjuvant or preservative and not to the actual vaccine itself. Was the rabies vaccine your pup given thermosal free? Thermosal has been linked to autism in children - imagine what it could do to a dog. Just another thing to think about.

    My point was not whether or not animals have reactions to vaccines but whether the vaccine is the true cause of future problems. It has been written time and again and highly suspected that dogs with true vaccinosis are genetically susceptible to such a reaction - it is in their genes to react negatively to anything foreign introduced to the body. Is this the vaccines fault?

    I have always maintained that we should not be addressing vaccinoisis solely by no longer vaccinating but instead we should be breeding animals with stronger immune systems. A normal healthy immune system should not react negatively to a simple stimulus which explains why the vast majority of dogs get vaccinated and do not react. Sadly - dogs with a history of vaccinosis or other immune system conditions continue to be bred and continue to pass along the problem to unsuspecting generations.

    Does this mean I am a die hard vaccine fiend? Hardly. I vaccinate core vaccines - distemper/parvo only and rabies when they are of age. I segregate all vaccines by 1 month. I then booster at 1 year, titer at age 2 and depending on the titer I vaccinate one more time or never again except as required by law for rabies. I also boost the immune system with premium kibble, supplemented with raw food, fresh air and tons of exercise and mental stimulation.


    Synthetic weed

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  • I guess you have to weigh the degree of risk against the risk of the disease. If you feel The odds of a dog dying from the vaccine are {probably} far less than those of an unvaccinated dog contracting a disease that may kill or disable it, then vaccinate.

    I always vaccinate my dogs and cats against rabies, even though the cats are indoors and the dogs are contained in our yard because the cats occasionally get out, and the dogs chase squirrels in the yard – not to mention that the occasional raccoon drops in to the yard for a visit!
    I vaccinate against parvo and distemper as well because I have no control over what dogs come around my fence and therefore have some contact with at least the snout of my dogs.
    The risk of disease is far greater than the risk from the vaccination.

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  • @JazzysMom:

    I guess you have to weigh the degree of risk against the risk of the disease. If you feel The odds of a dog dying from the vaccine are {probably} far less than those of an unvaccinated dog contracting a disease that may kill or disable it, then vaccinate.

    I always vaccinate my dogs and cats against rabies, even though the cats are indoors and the dogs are contained in our yard because the cats occasionally get out, and the dogs chase squirrels in the yard – not to mention that the occasional raccoon drops in to the yard for a visit!
    I vaccinate against parvo and distemper as well because I have no control over what dogs come around my fence and therefore have some contact with at least the snout of my dogs.
    The risk of disease is far greater than the risk from the vaccination.

    Im not so much worried with the vaccines as to the fear that a vet will not know much about the breed in general. In my previous post I said that my vet did not know that my puppy was ill. This was when I took him in for his shots. 2 weeks later I brought him back for another set of shots and that was when a different vet told me that my dog needed to be put to sleep. That was when I contacted a neurologist out of town for a 2nd opinion and he was right. The neurologist spent less than 10 minutes with my puppy and he knew that my dog had a rare neurological disorder.
    It has put a bad taste in my mouth now with vets in general. I would rather find one who has experience with this breed. My boyfriend told me that he would be willing to drive out of town to go to a vet who has worked with basenji's.

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  • If the neurological disorder was "rare" then it is possible that even a vet with experience with Basenji's may not have caught it.
    Was the problem really that he did not know the breed? or that he'd just never seen the problem? {Please remind me}
    I'm not being difficult – just wondering how "different" the breed is for a vet to take general care of. I think my vet is fine....but that doesn't mean I am not beginning to doubt!
    Or maybe the first guy was just a moron? LOL

    There are three vets in our office, one man and two women. Through the years with all my pets I have seen them all. After nearly losing my older dog,and having mistakes made with my cats due to the others' absolute incompetence, I always specify that I want to see the man {Dr. W} exclusively. I won't let those women near my pets!

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  • Basenji Mix

    Basenjis are different from other dogs and you have to find a vet who respects that. My current vet is a little more in tune to basenji needs and we're happy with him.

    Yes the above quote is what I need.

    My boyfriend told me that he would be willing to drive out of town to go to a vet who has worked with basenji's.

    I'll do the same. I think a vet should be educating me about treatments based on Basenji physiology should the need every come about. Not the other way around. I have only skim surface knowledge about this breed. And from what I've read, I need to be on my toes every month with the fanconi tests once he's 3 years old. So I have to be ready with a vet who knows this when the time comes and should treatments be necessary.

    I appreciate that Linda is a C.V.T. You've shed some technical information that I'll have to copy and absorb for reference. There are many possible reactions to a vaccination that I've learned here and I'll be much more observant when Duke get's his 3 year next August. There is no way around not getting him a rabies. It's the law here in Michigan. When Duke had his vaccinations, I didn't know what his breed was, so I wasn't so much worried about anything - there were no problems though.

    I'm sorry about your Sage - 7 years is not old. I agree that she was probably predisposed to her illness and that the vaccination may have triggered a quick decline. It's nice you are so knowledgeable about veterinary medicine . . . It gives you a better understanding of events. I'm learning and thank you.

    In the meantime, my mission to find a Basenji vet continues. I emailed an area Basenji Rescue for a referral. I anticipate a reply. I haven't gotten a reply from the local breeder yet. I should give it until the weekend. (Gosh, sometimes I hate the wait!) I'll stay posted here with any news.

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  • L

    It's not a great mystery to be debated. In a previous post when this was discussed I said I also since the hepatitis episode separate vaccinations by a month. My dog is fed properly and has adequate exercise and mental stimulation, and has had no health problems since the vaccination made her ill.

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  • @JazzysMom:

    If the neurological disorder was "rare" then it is possible that even a vet with experience with Basenji's may not have caught it.
    Was the problem really that he did not know the breed? or that he'd just never seen the problem? {Please remind me}
    I'm not being difficult – just wondering how "different" the breed is for a vet to take general care of. I think my vet is fine....but that doesn't mean I am not beginning to doubt!
    Or maybe the first guy was just a moron? LOL

    There are three vets in our office, one man and two women. Through the years with all my pets I have seen them all. After nearly losing my older dog,and having mistakes made with my cats due to the others' absolute incompetence, I always specify that I want to see the man {Dr. W} exclusively. I won't let those women near my pets!

    It very well could have been that the vet was a moron. We took our puppy in for his first set of shots and asked why he wobbled while standing in one place. It seemed kind of odd that he was so "clumsy" but the vet assured us that it he was just a puppy and that it was common. Two weeks later we took him back for his rabies shot and we saw a different vet and immediately he saw a neurological disorder in our puppy. Basically all the little tremors he had were seizures and the wobbling was due to him having neurological problems.
    None of the vets had ever seen a basenji before. They thought he was a mix.
    Maybe that is why they were not able to diagnose his condition right away. Still like I said before, I’m concerned. I don’t want to deal with another "moron vet"
    My boyfriend and I don't know much about medicine but you best believe I will be asking loads of questions as soon as we get our next puppy. I am so glad this forum exists and happy to be able to talk to such knowledgeable basenji lovers!

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  • Basenji Mix

    I got a referral!! YEAH - from the BCOA Rescue Directory. From there I was able to locate a Basenji Rescue in Michigan. Although her actual location is about an hour & a half away, her referral is for a vet only 10-12 miles from my home. The vet used to practice where she took her B's, but sadly had to move to this location. Good for me . . . I'm getting closer to piece of mind . . . Ahhhh . . .

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  • Basenji Mix

    In case it wasn't clear, I'll try and clarify my steps to find a vet for Duke.

    Here is the BCOA website http://basenjiclub.com/?q=node/17

    On the left hand side, you can pick 'Breeder Referral' or 'Rescue Contacts'. For either, you can scroll down and look for your state and find your contacts and their email address. I picked the contact who's location was nearest where I live, even though it was still quite a distance. In an effort to find a vet who is Basenji wise, I asked for a referral for a vet where they take their B's. Hopefully you get their referral. I would then call the referred veterinarian's office and ask the vet if he/she could lend a referral to a vet closer to where you live. See the strategy? I emailed a Basenji Breeder and the Rescue Contact. I got a quick reply from the Rescue Contact for a vet fairly close to home for me. I hope this helps if you need it.

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  • Basenjis are different from other dogs and you have to find a vet who respects that. My current vet is a little more in tune to basenji needs and we're happy with him.

    I hate to say it but in the end, basenjis are just dogs. Sure they have a number of uniquie traits but with regard to veterinary medicine they are no different then any other dog with two exceptions. Their anesthetic protocol should be addressed similarly to a greyhound or any other sighthound breed that has more muscle then fat and they have a high incidience of fanconi which is oftentimes misdiagnosed as diabetes or treated as renal failure. Other than those two things - there is nothing unique medically about the basenji as a breed.

    These two things can be discussed with the veterinarian and any vet worth their salt can easily be educated and will appreciate the chance to learn. People fail to remember that the vets work for THEM, not the other way around and that as owners we not only have the right, we have the responsibility to be active in the care of our animals. That means we need to educate ourselves first, then try and educate others and stand our ground and fight for what we know is right for our pets.

    There are bad seeds in every work field, vets are no exception. I have worked with several that only cared about money and making lots of it. The animal be damned. I do not feel it is imperative to find a vet with a lot of basenji experience, as stated above - basenjis are nothing "special" medically. What is imperative is to find a vet you can work with, that will work with you, will listen to your concerns and desires and is willing to potentially embrace those ideas. I am finding the best vets to be the ones that have embraced alternative medicine inconjuction with more traditional. They tend to be the most knowledgeable and the most open to what others have to say.


    Tf104

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  • Did you ask Marianne who she uses?… I think there are a number of Vets that know the breed here in N. California... I can give you my Vets number and see if they can recommend one for you....

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  • I agree wiht you, Sinbaje. Any vet should be willing to learn, regardless of the breed. I am lucky enough to have a vet in my town who the first time I brought Rocky in said "oh my god it's a Basenji! I've never seen one of these before! But I've always loved the breed!" and proceeded to tell me the history of the breed and some of their idiosyncracies. He's a very open and straitforward vet. A hard thing to find at times!

    Best of luck in the vet search! Remember, it really all comes down to who you feel comfortable with and who your dogs are comfortable with. If they specialize in a particular breed, great for those who own that breed. But if they don't, they all still have D.V.M. at the end of their monikers and had to pass the same boards to get those initials.

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