Dr Aine Seavers writes: Basenjis suffer cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs) or for want of a better word to describe it “stroke-like” symptoms as they age and especially in cold weather but they recover from them. My concern is how many of these Basenjis with this condition just get put to sleep as vets think they look so bad they can’t recover. Most other breeds look like a mild drunk when they get it, Basenji look like a newborn Bambi with a head injury as they knuckle over and fall about the place and truly look horrendous but most of them will recover if you get correct medication from your vet and give them time.
In addition to the medications from the vet – do the following:
Place the dog in a comfortable temp room – ie not too hot or too cold, crate if possible so the dog can’t do more damage by wandering off when so dizzy.
Keep lights dim and minimal stimulation re noise etc.
Avoid extremes of temperature
Syringe teaspoons of water into mouth every 2-3 hrs first day – don’t worry too much about them eating for the first 24-48hrs but on the second day you can try them with food.
Avoid any fatty or high meat diet meals for a while.
Vegies and some boiled chicken or white fish usually the second day but in small balls handed to the dog for a few days as eyes moving so fast and the dog so dizzy that they can’t work out how to get the head in the bowl and pick up the food.
It can take 4 days for them to begin to improve but they are usually back to normal by day 10.
Unlike other breeds, elderly Basenjis can have more than one episode – usually either around Easter as they strut their old bodies like they are 2yrs old but they are not, so they have an episode or if the weather suddenly turns cold or there is an extended cold period. They recover and the newer medications we have make them more comfortable and appear to return to normal faster as well. A second episode doesn’t mean anything, just deal with it and often the dog will go many months to several years without further episode. If however you got multiple episodes in a short space of time then that case needs to be looked at differently.