The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project
Health Conclusions About My Africans
by Brenda Jones-Greenberg
For those of you who are not familiar with my project, let me walk you
through briefly. Fourteen years ago Karon Begeman of Bighorn Basenjis,
and I, were on a list to receive an African basenji. Although our
interest in the Africans were not the same, we decided to ban together
and proceeded to set up a project in which extensive testing would be
done on the Africans, along with behavior observations juxtaposed to
their westernized cousins. Karon dropped out of the project at the
third generation due to other commitments.
Here the data looks good through the third generation. With the third generation approaching eight years of age, no Fanconi has been found. The fourth generation will be 7 this December, with no indication of Fanconi. Unfortunately, the fifth and sixth generations, approaching five and six years of age respectively, will offer the best data. This we must wait for.
Of the 32 Africans, 30
have had their eyes tested. Bikoro,
my foundation African was just tested, along with Elekeza, a fourth
generation girl, and the dam of the fifth generation, and both are
showing normal eyes. Within the next few months many more of my
Africans will be done for a second time. So far, all have tested
normal, with four exceptions. Atbara,
from the second generation, was found to have cholesterol in his eyes
and a diet change was recommended. Eleka,
in the fourth generation was found to have a double eyelash, along with
Acoma from the sixth generation. In neither case was this found to
hinder the eye itself. Acoma has two slight ppm strandings, iris to
Out of the 32, 15 hips have been x-rayed and all are showing good to excellent. Here, I consider the fifth and sixth generations to be most valuable, and will be testing most in these generations. The data here is very promising.
So far, most of the allergies have been food related, with four exceptions. Of theses exceptions, Acoma has been hit the hardest, with a visit to Tufts University, numerous vet visits, and a thyroid check, none of which has found anything related to her allergies. She is now on medication for a yeast infection, and is completely clear with only one spot of missing hair. She is due for more testing within the next two weeks. I find none of this exceptional as one would expect that the bodies of these Africans must adjust to the different environment they find themselves living in, compared to their native land. The food issue would be the same.
The data here is indicating a superior immune system in every way. I will be reporting on my findings more extensively at a later date. Suffice it to say that the data here is quite exciting and the more important to this point.
Before we go further, let me define some things
for you first. This will help you immediately understand the findings
below. The thyroid gland is a two-lobed endocrine gland found in all
vertebrates, located in front of and on either side of the trachea and
producing the hormone thyroxin. Thyroiditis is the inflammation of the
thyroid gland. Autoimmune Thyroiditis has an indicated: (a) familial
relationship and (b) is considered to be genetic.
For years, I have
heard many stories about the difficulties involved in living with
African basenjis. To date, I have lived with many personalities and
placed many Africans in households where there are infants, toddlers,
children, teenagers, singles, older folks, and very old folks, and have
seen nothing that would indicate a personality problem. Yes, one will
have problems if people are raising these Africans like the general
population dogs. One cannot, under any circumstances, yank them
severely by a choke chain, pull them from under beds, drag them out of
a crate in strange surroundings, make sudden move around them, or
approach them without their permission. The advice I always give is
simple; don't do anything to another living creature you would not want
done to yourself. These dogs are some of the smartest, most sensitive,
and most aware creatures I have ever lived with and it continues to be
an adventure every day.
These Africans bring so much good with them, let us not waste this opportunity given to us. I ponder how it is possible for such a breed as this, surviving for thousands of years in what can only be described as a hostile environment, be in dire straits in the western world after only living with us for no more than 80 years. Let us resolve to try harder to keep these dear creatures healthier and happier as the years go by. How could the world live without such a magical creature?