Newbie here!

Hello!

I don't know why it took me so long to find a site such as this!

I'm hiwaygal, and I have a basenji problem.

It began more than 20 years ago when I got my first basenji, Ezekiel (Zeke). The day we brought home that pup he bit my thumb so hard it drew blood. It was truly love at first bite ('senji puppies are just too cute for their own good).

Zeke lived a long and mostly happy life. I say mostly because I had much to learn about basenji's. Poor Zeke had to teach me. He was probably frustrated with me a lot.

When Zeke died unexpectedly at the age of 14 I knew I couldn't live without another basenji in my life.

So I adopted two!

Buddy and Sally came as a matched set from Basenji Rescue and Transport (BRAT). My life with them began with an adventure (driving 6 hours through an ice storm to bring them to their forever home) and so far so good.

Mostly.

Sadly, our dear Sally died a few months ago from complications from diabetes. We miss her dearly. Sometimes I think Buddy and I miss her most of all.

My husband and I also have a golden mix named Daisy.

Buddy is still with us too and he was diagnosed today with diabetes. Of course I'm worried that what happened with Sally is happening again. I'm projecting…but keeping my fingers crossed that Buddy will pull through.

In the meantime, it's just nice to know there's a place to talk about 'senjis with other 'senji fans.

I look forward to hearing about your babies and their adventures!

Hello Hiwaygal, welcome!! I'm sorry to hear about Sally; we suddenly lost our Lucy at age 6…. probably a thyroid condition? I hope you have a good vet for Buddy. Have they been tested for Fanconi Syndrome?

I hope you find some great advice on here! 🙂

Welcome from another newbie to this site!

I agree with Patty…if your vet has not tested your Basenji for Fanconi, have him or her do so immediately...Fanconi is often misdiagnosed as diabetes.

What are you feeding Buddy?

Welcome to the forum. Very sorry to hear of your sudden loss. How old is Buddy? The Fanconi test is easy to do. You can order a DNA swab kit from OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) which $65. http://www.offa.org/dnatesting/fanconi.html.

I have a Buddy too that I rescued last year. He's my 4th Basenji. I always learn from everyone of em! 😉

Thanks for the welcome everyone!

Buddy is about 10 (don't know his exact age) and while my vet and I are both aware of fanconi, Buddy has not been tested.

When Sally was diagnosed I got in touch with Dr. Gonto and was amazed that he actually RESPONDED!!! LOL. He's a very nice man and very concerned about the breed.

Because of Buddy's age and his blood glucose being high, we're pretty sure it's diabetes.

Thanks for that link nobarkus, I may go ahead and get Buddy screened anyway. I'll see about ordering the kit when I get home tonight.

We just switched Buddy's food (abruptly because we were so concerned about his liver elevations) to Royal Canin Hepatic L/S (dry) and Hills l/d (canned). Buddy is an extremely picky eater and he likes variety. What he ate for breakfast he may not eat for dinner. And what he ate for dinner he may not eat for breakfast next morning. He seems to tolerate the liver diet well so we're not messing with it until we have to.

We started insulin at 5units last night. He'll start at 5units twice a day.

We still had all the stuff from Sally. And both Buddy and Daisy still eat on the schedule we set up to manage Sally's diabetes. So the adjustment most folks have to deal with, we've already been used to.

Buddy will go in next week for the glucose curve to begin to get him regulated on the insulin.

In addition, because Dr. Gonto's protocol seemed to me to be mostly vitamins and supplements, I want to take it in to my vet. I see no reason Buddy can't do that even if he doesn't have fanconi, and it should have no effect on the diabetes I would think. We'll see what the vet thinks.

It's hard to always find a vet that is knowledgeable about the breed. Sometimes you have to find a vet you have trust in and who seems to have the best interests of your pet in mind. Our vet is an "extended" friend (his wife and I scrap-book together sometimes) so I am very comfortable with him. He tried so hard to help our Sally.

Dr Gonto will always respond…. to owners, vets, anyone..... There are other things in the protocol, like the bi-carb that you would not want to give a dog with diabetes... so yes, please review with your Vet.

Was he checked for sugar in the urine? A fanconi dog will have sugar in the urnine, but not in the blood, so sounds like it is diabetes.

Just wondering, do you know if the two were related?

@tanza:

Dr Gonto will always respond…. to owners, vets, anyone..... There are other things in the protocol, like the bi-carb that you would not want to give a dog with diabetes... so yes, please review with your Vet.

Was he checked for sugar in the urine? A fanconi dog will have sugar in the urnine, but not in the blood, so sounds like it is diabetes.

Just wondering, do you know if the two were related?

LOL! The bi-carb part of the protocol was one of the things I was not comfortable in doing myself anyway and the biggest reason I wanted to get my vet's input.

Initially, we had bloodwork done on Buddy last Thursday. His liver values were what needed immediate attention, but I noticed his blood glucose was high as well. At our follow up yesterday, they tested his urine.

I don't believe they were related. Aside from the 2 year age difference (which obviously isn't necessarily a guarantee), I think Buddy was from the Carolinas and I think Sally was originally from Texas. BRAT's records weren't that clear on them…and that was more than eight years ago.

Welcome to the forum, i enjoyed reading your intro. Like you with Zeke, when i got my first Basenji i had no idea what i was getting in to 😮 , and had to do a lot of learning and managing. I am much better informed now thanks to the internet and meeting with other people who have Basenjis.
I hope you managed to get Buddy stabalised soon.

@hiwaygal:

LOL! The bi-carb part of the protocol was one of the things I was not comfortable in doing myself anyway and the biggest reason I wanted to get my vet's input.

Initially, we had bloodwork done on Buddy last Thursday. His liver values were what needed immediate attention, but I noticed his blood glucose was high as well. At our follow up yesterday, they tested his urine.

I don't believe they were related. Aside from the 2 year age difference (which obviously isn't necessarily a guarantee), I think Buddy was from the Carolinas and I think Sally was originally from Texas. BRAT's records weren't that clear on them…and that was more than eight years ago.

I was just wondering because of them both having diabetes…. while we do see it in Basenjis, it has not been all the common, but seems we are hearing about it more and more.

I cannot recommend a raw or predominately protein diet strongly enough for diabetic dogs. My friends who switched to raw or mostly protein have had the best luck with controlling and managing their dog's diabetes. Sadly it is more and more common in Rottweilers so I know quite a few with it.

I second what Debra says about raw diets.

If you do not already have a copy of Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (3rd Edition), I highly recommend it.

Particularly, read the section in the book on diabetes in dogs and cats starting on page 327. I find interesting Dr. Pitcairn's assertion that immune problems, such as diabetes, can be made worse after being vaccinated, or can come on after being vaccinated (which, IMO, there's way too much of).

@tanza:

I was just wondering because of them both having diabetes…. while we do see it in Basenjis, it has not been all the common, but seems we are hearing about it more and more.

I understand that feeling. And at this point, I'm seriously having a guilt complex as though I may have done something to bring this on them both…or that Buddy somehow managed to catch it from Sally! (I know that's not possible.)

Sometimes I wonder if the increased occurences of diabetes in dogs is mirroring the increase in (type 2) diabetes in people. Seems as we humans gain weight sometimes so do our canine companions. There might be a bit of a link there, but who knows.

@DebraDownSouth:

I cannot recommend a raw or predominately protein diet strongly enough for diabetic dogs. My friends who switched to raw or mostly protein have had the best luck with controlling and managing their dog's diabetes. Sadly it is more and more common in Rottweilers so I know quite a few with it.

Right at this moment, because of Buddy's elevated liver numbers, protein is not recommended. (Since he's been so picky lately, I asked the vet if I could feed him boiled chicken and rice and her response was "please don't ask his liver to work any harder than it is right now" 😞 )

Once we get the liver and glucose numbers settled (and this $$$$ bag of prescription food is gone), we will re-evaluate things. My husband hates when I do that. Our vet said that with picky eaters who are also diabetic, sometimes it's better to eat some of the "wrong" stuff than none of the "right" stuff.

I'm a huge proponent of quality food, but I'm also living more or less paycheck to paycheck.

Our other dog, Daisy, has typical golden skin problems so we've been feeding her a grain free diet.

I guess all that is to say, I'm not really sold on the raw diets (sorry). Generally I stick with foods that are more or less human grade, and I try to make sure they have never been on a recall list (Wellness, Merrick, Innova, Nature's Variety, Canidae).

I DO appreciate the recommendation though, I know you all only have the best in mind for us! I too have heard many folks (I also belong to a K9 diabetes forum) have success with more "personalized" diets.

And LindaH…that's interesting about the vaccinations! I'd never heard about that connection before. I'll have to see if I can find that book at our library!

Welcome to the forum and I'm sorry that Buddy has health problems - i hope you can soon get everything balanced and he can have many years of happy life.

There is quite a lot of evidence of problems caused by vaccination and especially if the shots are given while the dog is unwell. Many vets won't accept this but even the vaccine manufacturers issue warnings.

I'm sorry you are having to go through this again, but Buddy has a head start with an owner who knows all about managing his disease.

There is a great liver-cleansing diet that has mostly whitefish, potatoes, I think only 4 ingredients, you are supposed to use it for (I think) a month. A friend has recently used it with good results, I can get more info if you are interested.

You can find information on the Liver cleansing diet at Dr Dodds site, Hemopet. Here is the link to the diet
http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/Liver%20cleansing%20diet.htm

@hiwaygal:

Right at this moment, because of Buddy's elevated liver numbers, protein is not recommended.

Okay that has me a bit confused. Having advanced liver disease myself, not sure why your vet says that. Although damaged livers don't process proteins as well as they should, most recommend MORE highly digestible high quality protein… not less. Perhaps your vet just wants to avoid change til things stabilize?

http://www.vmth.ucdavis.edu/home/NUT/brochures/liver.doc?html

When Special Diets Might Be Beneficial

Liver Disease

In many cases, elevation of liver enzymes alone does not warrant a dietary change. In some instances, if the liver enzymes are consistently elevated, the pet may benefit from supplemental antioxidants. Liver cells may be partially protected from further damage when additional antioxidant precursors or antioxidants beyond those found in the diet are given. Some veterinary nutritionists and veterinarians recommend supplementation with Vitamin E, Vitamin C, S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) and/or silymarin (Milk Thistle), but it is important to note that the exact mechanism of action, dosing and efficacy of these supplements are still under investigation. The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), leucine, isoleucine and valine, have also been suggested as beneficial supplements for humans. Low blood concentrations of BCAA can occur in liver disease, but it is very unclear whether supplementation is justifiable given their high cost and the lack of conclusive evidence that they are beneficial. Protein restriction is NOT recommended in many cases for animals with liver disease based on evidence from research in humans. It is believed that the protein requirement may be increased and unnecessary restriction can reduce the production of important proteins like albumin. Reduced albumin concentrations puts the animal at risk for abnormal fluid accumulations, such as ascites (abdominal fluid). However, protein restriction can be crucial in treating the small number of patients with clinical signs of protein intolerance (hepatic encephalopathy or HE; see section below), but may be detrimental in patients without signs of HE.

http://www.dog-health-guide.org/canineliverdiseasediet.html

Perhaps I misunderstood her intent, but she was clear on the 'no chicken' thing.

Of course, I was pretty upset when I talked with her (having just gone through losing Sally in August and now facing the possibility of losing Buddy too) so it's entirely possible that I didn't catch everything she said.

I don't like the quality of Hills' foods but at this point I'm much too scared to try to figure it all out on my own just yet. I'm afraid somehow I'll make a wrong choice and forever wonder if I've killed my dogs.

Thank you very much for posting that information. I will talk again with my vet when we see him next week.

When you are working with your vet, and gathering information to help your dog, I hope you won't wonder if you have "killed your dogs". You are obviously trying everything within your power to help Buddy, as you did with Sally. Sometimes when one of a bonded pair passes away, the remaining dog follows soon after, from one reason or another.
Good luck with Buddy. Don't beat yourself up; we can only do the best we can at any given time. Hindsight sometimes reveals paths not taken, but one would never know "if" something else might have helped, and to worry over that is counterproductive. You sound like a loving owner, doing the best you can.

Anne is so right.

My dog, Lucy, was 6 years young when she unexpectedly died. Yes, she was overweight, but I never thought that would KILL her… for weeks, I beat myself up thinking of all of the things I should have done. 😞

With that being said, do the best you can, with what you've got. You and your vet will do the best you can for Buddy. 🙂

Forgive me folks…I think I'm hypersensitive and over stressed about all this.

To give you some additional background, as I mentioned in my OP, I've had basenji's in my life for over 20 years. Things they do that are 'unique' or 'special' have become commonplace to me. Which is kinda sad.

When I met my now husband, it was hysterical watching him learn about 'senjis. One of his first experiences was the escape artist....Buddy. My husband spent hours building a very functional (but not exactly attractive) kennel for the three dogs. It had to be big enough to comfortably fit Daisy (the golden mix) and I wanted separate spaces for each of them. But they needed to be able to see each other (I knew Buddy had separation issues). I also warned him about the Houdini quality that every senji has.

He planned, he built...he was diligent. And it was sturdy (if not downright industrial)!

It took Buddy about an hour to get out of it. He chewed through a 2x4.

I laughed.

My husband was determined to out-smart Buddy. So he fixed and fiddled and proclaimed that the new kennel was Buddy-proof. I smiled.

It took Buddy about 30 minutes to get out. He managed to bend the steel wire stuff.

I laughed.

Still determined, my husband tried again. This time he used 1/4" lexan panels for the doors on Buddy's section. He assured me this was going to work. I smiled again.

It actually took Buddy about an hour to get out of that. He escaped into Daisy's section and bent the wire to get out HER door. Daisy was still in the kennel.

I laughed.

My husband discovered a new appreciation for basenjis!


After adopting Buddy and Sally, I served as a BRAT volunter/adoption coordinator for about two years. I did a couple of home visits and helped a couple of dogs find permanent homes and foster homes. I think one of the folks I visited is still fostering in my area.

I have also served as a moderator on a dog related message board and that was quite a learning experience! 😃

Anyway, right now my primary concern is getting Buddy in as good health as I can get him. I've been lurking around some of the other boards here and there is so much information. I hope that I can contribute something of value here!

And tanza...do I have to actually cook fish for that diet?!?!?!:eek: ewwww! LOL 😉

I do appreciate all the warm thoughts and ideas and opinions. We all know that senjis are not just a unique breed...they really are very much individuals. What works for one may not work for another, but it might!

Your posts and ideas are very much appreciated!

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