Senior Basenji's
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    Hi Everyone;
    I am new to the list. I have two basenji's that are the love of my life, next to my husband. We live in Austin Texas.
    My B-kids are 12 1/2 years old. I would love to talk with someone who has experience with older basenji's as I have a few behavioral "getting older" questions. My husband and I have been owned by these two since they were pups.

    For the past two years our male has gone through some major personality changes. He went from Mr congeniality to Mr let me bite you first and ask questions later! (He gives no warning, he will be calm and then just bite, no provocation, no warning, we never know when he will just bite, so we keep him away from people he is not around all the time, he does not bite us or those who are around him often.) Our vet has no answers for this change of nature. Our vet said that as some dogs get older they get crabby, just as humans do. Is this true for Basenji's? We know of no reason why he should have changed, nothing traumatic has taken place, no change in diet or exercise or daily routine. Except for the personalty change he is a healthy senior citizen. I am at a loss as to what to do. Any suggestions?
    Our female went through a personalty change also, she was always crabby and now in the past two to three years she has become Miss congeniality and loves everyone and wants to be with every one. Strange!!!
    How old does breed get?

    Love my B's :D

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  • Basenjis can live to 17 or 19 (I have had some live to that age) but I would say average is 15-16.
    Has your boy had his thyroid tested (full panel, not just T4) ? That can cause exactly what you describe, and is easy to treat with fairly dramatic results. It could also be pain, maybe he has some arthritis or back pain, that can make them very cranky.

    Or maybe they are in one of those disney movies where people swap bodies!

    Welcome to the Forum, looking forward to hearing more about your babies!

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    Thanks Anne for the advice. One other fact that I forgot to mention concerning our Mr Bite me….he really seems to go after people who have the smell of other dogs on them. Could this be thyroid or something else?

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  • Welcome to the forum. I've had a Basenji live to 17-1/2, 15-1/2 and 14-1/2. I now have a rambunctious 1-1/2 tri. :D I never saw any behavior changes like that other than mellowing out. I would get his thyroid panel done. I get blood drawn at my vet then sent to Dr Dodds in So Cal. She does a more in depth test than the vets. I think you can have it done at the U of MI too but I may be wrong. Read this link.
    http://www.apubasenjis.com/bhealth.html

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  • My 9 1/2 year old girl can be a bit cranky (read very vocal) with the younger dogs in the house, especially when she is relaxing on the couch or one of the dog beds. She has yearly bloodwork done and the vet didn't find anything that would cause her grumpiness and said much what your vet did. Then we took her in for her CERF exam and she has become quite near sighted, so we think that she can't clearly see the whirling dervishes coming at her so she yells at them.

    So if your boy's thyroid panel is normal, and he doesn't have any apparent arthritis, you may want to see a vet opthamologist to see how his eye sight is doing.

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  • failing (worn out) thyroid, eyesight, hearing could all be a reason to become more cranky. as well as arthritis or demensia. i also suggest a full thyroid pannel to be done. I also have had lots of help from my holistic vet. My 12.5 year old, Jet the try-ing, will sometimes throw his back out. The holistic vet will do chiropractics and put him right again. When he's in need of that, I notice he stands a bit hunched over, movement is off and his tail carriage is lower than normal. I also have a 13.5 year old who has also benefited from the holistic vet. Digital the brindlewonderkid has had some guidance in diet from the holistic vet. Diggie also goes swimming to help build up some thigh muscles that started to atrophy. (there is a hydrotherapy pool about 10 minutes from my house, so we got lucky there.)

    Both boys are also taking glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. I strongly recommend some sort of joint suppliments for any senior (dog or human). Some people have also suggested fish oil, but I haven't done that.

    I should add that other than a few minor problems both my boyz are quite healthy, happy dogs. Well Jet the try-ing is a bit grumpy, but he's always been that way a bit. Both still do therapy visits and do some back yard agility.

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  • I agree with what others have said. Check things like full thyroid panel, eye sight, hearing…. My elders lost their hearing between 11 and 13yrs... all can add to being cranky......

    Has he had full blood workups? Did that show anything? Remember that unless the blood is sent out, even a full blood workup will not give you true thyroid readings.

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  • Welcome to the forum

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    Eyesite can be an issue..if the dog is using his nose, and the vision is not working, he might think there is a strange dog coming over to him.
    We sure do love our b's…my boy is also older, and I think he is losing his vision.
    So, I speak to him before I try to touch him.
    He is also getting pretty stiff in the back, so I am giving him baby asprin, it does seem to be helping.

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  • @sharronhurlbut:

    Eyesite can be an issue..if the dog is using his nose, and the vision is not working, he might think there is a strange dog coming over to him.
    We sure do love our b's…my boy is also older, and I think he is losing his vision.
    So, I speak to him before I try to touch him.
    He is also getting pretty stiff in the back, so I am giving him baby asprin, it does seem to be helping.

    Sharron, you really should try chiropractics for him…. it really does work.... especially on our older kids. I did it for OJ from when he was 9 on, as he always had back issues.

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    I have done actupuncure. sp and its does help.
    I will try to find a doggie chiropracter over here.

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  • Sharon I also agree about Chiropractic and accupuncture for pets. The senior JRT I took care of used to benefit greatly from both.

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    Cheryl Silver lives in Austin, TX and her Hank is getting older, I think he is 12 now. He also has Fanconi. I do not know if she is on this list though.

    I am fostering a 16 1/2 year old and she has low thyroid, eye and hearing problems. I suggest a complete thyroid test and a complete eye exam, not just a CERF eye exam.

    She has other health problems-arthritis, neurological-rear leg weakness, and possibly beginings of senility. I just want to keep her comfortable for whatever time she has left.

    For those of you who debate about having surgery done on older Bs-two of my older Bs just had surgery over the past month. The 16 1/2 year old had stump pyometra which is left over tissue from a spay and had to have surgery to remove it or she would have died from blood infection. My 11 1/2 Fanconi affected had her anal glands removed. They would get infected, clear up with antibiotics, then get infected again. Neither of these girls are in renal failure or have any major health problems. Their CBCs did not show that they were having infections. I really did not think the 16 1/2 year old would make it and was expecting the worse but she made it through with flying colors. She is one tough girl!

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    Thanks for the info. I have her e-mail off the forum, so will be in touch with her.
    Hugs.

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  • Our Ginger had a dental and extraction when she was over 17, the first night was stressful, trying to get her to drink, but by the next day she was OK and lived another year and a half.

    As for stiff back, Topper has some fused discs and bone spurs, he was constantly ripping the fur out of his tail and hind end, I decided it must be tingling from nerve issues. I give him half a Rimadyl (12 mg) every morning and he is fine. If I stop, within a few days he is ripping that tail apart. Just had blood work and his liver values are perfect. that sub-theraputic dose is just the ticket for him. If is shortened his life, it would still be worth it for quality of life he has. His renal values are now in the high range, but he is almost 15. Again, I debate changing his food, etc, when we have a great routine now for pills and he loves his kibble, though stays on the thin side. Quality vs. quantity, hmmmmm.

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  • hey, thanks for that post Anne. Jet the trying likes to chew up his tail too. Am trying to think when that started. He's mostly stopped now, but hubby said it looked like he needed to go back to the chiro vet. Which was a good call on hubby's part; i was out of town. and when i got back i did some massage. that often helps, but isn't the same as a vet visit and i did see jet chewing his tail yesterday. we have a vet visit scheduled for Thursday, so I'll as dr jim and see what he thinks about the tail thing. interesting stuff!

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    Got to agree with Tanza about the Chiro.

    They are fantastic for rebalancing the dogs, and making them feel more comfortable. Have always taken my older dobes to one, in fact my girl goes next week.

    Hope you get your boy sorted, I'm sure you will, and by the way welcome to the forum

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  • My 12-year-old, Ziggy, just had a physical. I mentioned to the vet that sometimes his back leg quivers - I've seen it happen on a somewhat regular basis over the last few months. She thought it might be arthritis. Any B owners who have dealt with arthritis in their dogs? What are the treatment(s)?

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  • My 12-year-old, Ziggy, just had a physical. I mentioned to the vet that sometimes his back leg quivers - I've seen it happen on a somewhat regular basis over the last few months. She thought it might be arthritis. Any B owners who have dealt with arthritis in their dogs? What are the treatment(s)?

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  • I had excellent results with glucosamine & chondroitin with my old Ginger, within 2 weeks she was running and jumping again and remained that way for a couple of years. Her symptoms were whimpering when jumping off the couch and general stiffness when walking.
    My vet currently has me us a liquid, Arthrimaxx, and I think it makes a difference.

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    Spencer was on Arthrosamine, which seemed to help. I switched to Cosequin DS, which hasn't worked as well. I'm switching back to Arthrosamine. I'll have to order it online, since my vet stopped carrying it. He still runs and plays– just takes the stairs slower and one at a time.

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