Since it seems like we have several new basenji owners recently join the forum, I thought now would be a good time to post some information about health testing that is good for all basenji owners to know about.
Health testing is important for pet owners and breeders alike since a dog that is in pain is more likely to bite and exhibit aggressive behavior because it doesn't feel well. As owners we need to be aware of our pet's health and help to keep their quality of life the best that we can.
Health testing that can be done as a pup.
CERF exam usually done at 10 weeks to get a good baseline for PPM and to check for Coloboma. This exam needs to be done by a Board Certified Veterinary Opthamologist and is usually done prior to pups going to their new homes. CERF exams should be repeated every couple of years since PRA is a late onset disease that causes blindness.
DNA Marker for Fanconi Syndrome, can be done as soon as the 3 cc's of blood can be drawn. This is especially recommended if there are no test results for the parents or at least one parent has not tested Probably Clear.
Health Testing that can be done at 12 months old
Patellas, can be checked by your regular vet and are often checked as part of a routine exam. If your pup has abnormal results please download the OFA submission form, http://www.offa.org and send it in so that the breed has accurate statistics for this disease. It is free to submit abnormal results.
Thyroid testing, an OFA panel or full panel done by MSU or Antech is recommended. OFA recommends yearly between the ages of 1 - 4 years old and then every other year. Hypothyroidism effects how much energy your dog has and often makes the dog feel grumpy and lethargic. Because it effects their metabolism the disease can have many different symptoms and effects on the dog.
Health Testing that can be done at 24 months old
Hips and Elbows can be x-rayed at your vet's office and mailed to OFA for reading. Dogs that are dysplastic may not show evidence of pain until they are older but if you know there is a problem you can do a lot to lessen the effects by keeping the dog in good weight and muscle tone. This is especially critical information for owners of canine athletes.