Focused on breeding healthy Basenjis with excellent temperaments...........

The VBBA recommends that when looking for a Basenji puppy that you purchase from a breeder that has a comprehensive health testing program. A breeder who can prove the results and who is open, engaging and demonstrates a high degree of knowledge about these health issues.

The following is a ‘nutshell’ look at some of the health issues that the VBBA consider to be important and encourage our breeders and members to be aware about. We care about the health and well being of puppies that are bred by the breeders association with this Club we have taken a common sense approach and discussed our testing regime with experts where required. We have a simple philosophy….if you don’t test then you simply don’t know what’s there…..

The VBBA has put into operation a comprehensive breeding program to reduce and where feasible eliminate any heredity health issues that afflict the Basenji. Breeders who advertise with the VBBA on this site are expected to follow the mandatory testing and/or breeding recommendations outlined below.

We have rated these health issues:

bone-1 = issue is not life threatening, generally as little or no impact on health and well being.

bones-5= issue can be fatal, has major impact on life and well being.

The number of bones allocated to a disease is not related to the number of cases of the disease. The bones represent the impact on health and wellbeing e.g. Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency has not, as far as we know, been recorded in Australia however but the impact on health (it is fatal) and wellbeing of dogs afflicted with this disease is severe.

More comprehensive information on health matters can be viewed on our health page.

Fanconi Syndrome  bones-5

Fanconi Syndrome is a renal disorder caused by a defect in the proximal renal tubule. This defect causes a reduction in the re-absorption of sodium, glucose, calcium, phosphate and amino acid from the proximal tubular cells of the kidney back into the bloodstream. Instead, these essential nutrients (multiple vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and bicarbonates) are leached into the urine.  This process can lead to fatal disturbances in acid balance of the blood. The acidic condition of the body can cause, muscle wasting, calcium to dissolve from the bones eventually and if untreated the syndrome is fatal. A fanconi afflicted dog is also likely to suffer from kidney and bladder infections due to the glucose and low pH situation. Fanconi Syndrome has been found in a number of breed but it is in the Basenji that they syndrome is known to be hereditary.

Prior to 2007 reputable breeders would test their dogs using reagent strips to check for glucose in the urine – one of the symptoms of the syndrome.  In 2007 a DNA marker test was marketed by the University of Missouri, USA and the OFA. This test, although not 100% guaranteed made a big impact on the breeding practices of the breeders that had dogs tested. Eventually, in 2011, after many years of research a direct DNA test was released giving breeders the tool they needed to commence the eradication of the syndrome from the breed.

The syndrome has, unfortunately, been misdiagnosed on a number of occasions as diabetes. They syndrome is not curable, but Dr Steve Gonto has developed a protocol to manage afflicted dogs. Dogs that are diagnosed early (which is why is it very important for Basenjis that are not DNA tested to have urine anylised regularly) have a very good prognosis on the management protocol.

If you Basenji is showing any signs of Fanconi Syndrome and/or has been diagnosed with diabetes and is not responding to medication as expected we recommend that you contact a Basenju Club or organisation; no one will consider such contact as being a nuisance.

VBBA Breeding Program

    Mandatory that at least one parent in a breeding is required to be DNA tested as “Normal” or be an offspring from a breeding of two  “Normal" Basenjis.

    Mandatory no dog DNA tested “Affected” to be bred, not even to a “Normal”.

  • All puppies from matings that have the possibility of producing anything other than a “Normal” result that are to be used for breeding are required to be DNA tested prior to breeding. Buyers of puppies from such matings must be advised that these not must not be bred unless theirFanconi status is established first.
  • Where “normal’ lines are not already established it is our intention to try to have all of our bloodlines clear as soon as possible. However, the gene pool of Basenjis in Australia is relatively small. In order to maintain genetic diversity it may be necessary to breed carriers (based on the above conditions) for a period of 10-15 years (from 2008). We feel that this will be adequate time given that Basenjis only season once per year effectively halving the amount of breedings possible with other breeds.
 

Persistent Pupillary Membrane

The pupillary membrane protects and nourishes the eyes whilst the foetus is developing. Normally this membrane is absorbed after birth. Sometimes remnants remain after the eyes have opened, but normally disappear when the pup is about 4-5 weeks old. In Basenjis it is common for membrane remnants to remain ‘persistent’ after the normal absorption time. Although these remnants can become less evident over time. The VBBA breeding program requires breeders to have their puppies eyes examined by specialists under the Australian Canine Eye Scheme (ACES). This means the VBBA breeders will be in a position to advise puppy buyers whether or not their puppy is affected with PPM and if so what the prognosis is. It should be noted that a large percentage of Basenjis are affected by minor iris-iris PPM, although this form of PPM generally has no negative health or well being outcomes breeders who test for this condition are in a more favourable position when deciding matings on which dog to use on which bitch i.e. mating two Basenjis with a high degree of PPM would not be recommended.

VBBA Breeding Program

Puppies

  • Mandatory testing of all puppies
  • All puppies are required to be examined before sale, at approximately 7 weeks old

Adults

  • Mandatory that adults be re-tested prior to each breeding – under ACES.
  • Mandatory all adults used in the breeding program be given a final test at 9 years of age – under ACES*

* Results of the final test to be evaluated for future breeding of blood lines.

Iris to Iris and Iris Floating PPM  bone-1

Dogs diagnosed with minor, mild iris to iris or iris floating PPM or noted on the ACES Certificate as ‘of no clinical significance’  can be used for breeding.

Iris to Lens and Iris to Cornea PPM  bones3

Mandatory that affected dogs are not used in a breeding program and puppies should be de-sexed after sale. Puppy buyers must be advised prior to purchase of the likely prognosis of a positive result.

 

Coloboma bones3

A coloboma is a ‘hole’ in the structure of the eye. It is present from birth which means it is congenital. In Basenjis the coloboma is normally found on the optic nerve, the condition has been found in a number of Basenjis in Australia. The VBBA breeding program requires breeders to have their puppies eyes examined by specialists under the Australian Canine Eye Scheme (ACES). This means the VBBA breeders will be in a position to advise puppy buyers whether or not their puppy is affected with this condition and if so what the prognosis is.

VBBA Breeding Program

Puppies

  • Mandatory testing of all puppies
  • All puppies must be examined before sale, at approximately 7 weeks old

Adults

  • Mandatory that adults be re-tested prior to each breeding – under ACES.
  • Mandatory all adults used in the breeding program be given a final test at 9 years of age – under ACES*

* Results of the final test to be evaluated for future breeding of blood lines.

Mandatory that affected dogs are not used in a breeding program and should be de-sexed after sale.

Puppy buyers must be advised prior to purchase of the likely prognosis if there is a positive result.

 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy bones-4

PRA is a disease of the retina; the retina atrophies generally causing vision loss and blindness. This condition is generally late-onset in Basenjis. There is no DNA test for PRA in Basenjis. VBBA Breeders are required to test their breeding stock for this condition. VBBA Breeders are also required to test dogs used in their breeding program at the age of 8 or over; mots conditions including PRA should have presented itself by that time. By testing older dogs, breeders can ascertain if any of their stock have become afflicted and therefore adjust their breeding program accordingly.

VBBA Breeding Program

Puppies

  • Mandatory testing of all puppies.
  • Mandatory all adults used in the breeding program be given a final test at 9 years of age – Under ACES*
  • All puppies must be examined before sale, at approximately 7 weeks old.

Adults

  • Mandatory that adults be re-tested prior to each breeding – under ACES.
  • Mandatory all adults used in the breeding program be given a final test at 9 years of age – Under ACES*
  • * Results of the final test to be evaluated for future breeding of blood lines

Mandatory that dogs found to be affected by PRA are removed from the breeding program.

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Corneal Dystrophy  bone-1

Epithelial/Stromal

This condition is when white or gray spots are seen in the eye and can be associated with cholesterol or fatty deposits in the cornea.

  • Mandatory that adults be tested prior to each breeding – under ACES.
  • Mandatory all adults used in the breeding program be given a final test at 9 years of age – Under ACES*

* Results of the final test to be evaluated for future breeding of blood lines.

Recommended that dogs with this condition be only bred to those that are unaffected at the time of testing.

Corneal Dystrophy  bones-2
Endothelial

A condition when the cornea takes on too much fluid, which clouds the cornea and negatively affects vision.

  • Mandatory that adults be tested prior to each breeding – under ACES.
  • Mandatory all adults used in the breeding program be given a final test at 9 years of age – Under ACES*

* Results of the final test to be evaluated for future breeding of blood lines.

Mandatory dogs found to be affected are removed from the breeding program.

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency  bones-5
(Haemolytic Anaemia)

Pyruvate Kinase-deficient haemolytic anaemia was first diagnosed in Basenjis in the 1960s, although prior to that date Basenjis had died of a then-unknown form of anaemia. Research began in the 1960s, with a carrier test available in 1972.

  • From 1972 blood testing established, clears, carriers and affecteds. Testing in Australia was conducted in Bendigo, Victoria.
  • DNA test now available for Pyruvate Kinase deficiency.
  • Most Basenjis, worldwide, are now descended from tested clear stock. A few carriers still exist in the gene pool predominantly in the USA.
  • There are no known confirmed diagnosis of the disease in Australia.

 

Canine Hip Dysplasia
bones-4

Canine Hip Dysplasia (cHD) is a genetic disease. In basic terms hip dysplasia is the improper growth of the hip joint; this can lead to the hip moving and this in turn, over time, can result in arthritis also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, and osteoarthrosis. It can be a very painful condition.

Mandatory that all breeding stock be tested using AVA or PenHIP systems prior to breeding.

  • Dog must be over 18 months before examination.
  • Recommended that vertical pedigrees be used (where possible) when deciding proposed breedings.

AVA System

  • It is highly recommended that only dogs with a total score less than 10 be bred.
  • It is recommended that a dog with total scores of between 10 and 12 only be bred with dog with a dog with a total score of between 0 and 6.
  • It is highly recommended that a dog with a total score exceeding 12 is not bred.
  •  

    PennHIP

  • It is highly recommended that dogs used for breeding have hip laxity in the tighter half of the breed.
 

Thyroid
bone-1

Basenjis are known to have a higher than average rate of hypothyroidism. However, this assumption has been based on thyroid levels known to be ‘normal’ for most breeds. Recent studies by the University of NSW, including the testing of approximately 200 Basenjis have confirmed that Basenjis, have a normal thyroid level lower than that previously designated as ‘normal’.  Therefore, dogs that have been considered ‘abnormal’ may actually be normal for the Breed. Dr Aine Seavers, one the researchers, has an important message for Basenji breeders and owners. Results of the study can also be found by following the link below.

Thyroid information

  • Recommended that tests be run at 1 year old and at least once more.
  • Research has shown that Basenjis, on average, have a lower T4 (thyroxine) level than other breeds. Therefore, a T4 result outside the ‘normal’ range for most breeds may not indicate a thyroid problem  It is important to read the T4 result in combination with that of cTSH (canine thyroid stimulating hormone), it is also useful to have a cholesterol test run on a dog that may be showing thyroid related symptoms. 
  • Results to be sent to Dr Aine Seavers for interpretation.

Recommended ranges:
•  cTSH <0.6
•  tT4 or fT4 around/greater than 13
•  T3 in the normal non breed specific range,  normal PCV/Haematocrit, normal cholesterol

Breeder Option for removal from breeding program should results be outside the above ranges. The disease is normally late onset and medication is not expensive or intrusive i.e. it is relatively easy to treat with a tablet based medication. It is important to note that taking affecteds out of the gene pool may ‘enhance’ other, more substantial,  issues.