Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Clear and Normal

A brief diversion from the knitting while I share some good news. First, some background.

Fanconi Syndrome is a kidney condition that affects Basenjis. The syndrome causes problems in glucose and acid levels in urine, and can lead to kidney failure. It usually doesn’t manifest itself until a dog is between 4 and 7 years of age, by which time some dogs have already had offspring. Thus it has passed down from generation to generation. It affects somewhere around 10% of the U.S. Basenji population. It’s a nasty disease, but if caught early, it’s treatable. Catching it early, for us, involved holding Clinistix urine testing strips under (Pona) or behind (Kate) our dogs once a month to see if they had high glucose levels. Fun!

Until recently, there was an indirect test for the likelihood of a dog developing Fanconi later in life, called a linked marker test. They could look at several indicators and calculate probability, but as yet, they hadn’t identified the exact mutation. In late August, Dr. Gary Johnson of the Dept. of Veterinary Pathobiology at the University of Missouri, was able to sequence the complete genome of Miranda, a Basenji with Fanconi Syndrome and compare it to other dog genomes. He identified the exact gene causing the problem. As far as Dr. Johnson knows, it’s the first first inheritable dog disease problem solved through genome sequencing. Dr. Johnson’s recent presentation to the Basenji Club of America is available and rather interesting for those who want all the nerdy details. Thanks, Dr. Johnson – and Miranda!

All this is to say that we sent off for DNA testing kits from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, swabbed the in side of the dogs’ cheeks (more fun!) and sent the samples back. I checked the website today, and here’s what I saw:


Wonderful news! Oh, and because this is a knitting blog, I guess I can share with you that I’ve finished the first of the Border Socks.



  1. years and years of basenji sweaters in your future...

    I like those socks. I am an increasing fan of the colored heel.

  2. browsing your posts....as a vet, very happy to see the good news re: your pups!

  3. Glad the Basenji News is good because they are really cute!!