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Guide To Basenji Health Testing

Below you will find information regarding genetic health testing in Basenjis, and where to find information and forms for these tests plus submission tips!

OFA Certified Tests, available to Basenjis
For printable OFA Forms and Applications Click here
Below you will find each test listed in blue, plus instruction on how to submit samples for these tests.

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

What is this test?: Screens for Canine Hip & Elbow Dysplasia. Prevalent in most breeds of dogs. NO dog should be bred without hips being certified by OFA. Many breeds have Elbow dysplasia, and it is strongly recommended elbows be screened at a small additional cost during hip screening.

When can I test?: When your dog is over 24 months. You can have hips "Pre-Lim'd" at 1 year if you plan to breed sooner than 2 years of age.
(NOTE: Estrus can interfere with test results. It is recommended to test 12-16 weeks after ONSET of Estrus)

Where can I test?: Any State-Accredited Veterinarian. Call and ask if your Veterinarian is experienced with OFA X-ray techniques, as a more experienced Veterinarian and staff will produced better quality films.

How do I test?: Make an appointment with your Veterinarian. This is usually (and recommended) an anesthetic procedure. Usually requires dropping your dog off in the morning on an empty stomach (strongly suggested whether an anesthetic will be used or not - fecal matter does show up on an X-ray.

What forms do I need?: Print the OFA Hip Dysplasia application (which includes the Elbow Application) and complete it. Bring it with you when you drop off your dog. OFA recommends bringing a copy of the AKC registration for accuracy. I staple mine to my OFA form. Some Veterinarians request that you bring a seperate check payable to OFA to cover fees. Your DVM will mail the x-rays for you (in most cases). You will recieve your OFA Certificate in about 4 weeks.

Recommended reading & usefull links:

CERF Eye Exams

What is this test?: Screens for Inherited and congential eye diseases/abnormalities. ALL puppies (especially those who will be used in future breeding programs) must have eyes examined. Ideally between 8-12 weeks (per Veterinary Ophthamologists). Recommended annual re-exams, especially if the dog has been used for breeding. PRA has a late onset, and older dogs must be continually re-examined to help eliminate this blinding disease from our breed.

When can I test?: Puppies: 8-12 weeks preferred. Adults - Annually.

Where can I test?: Only with a Board Certified Ophthamologists that are Certified by CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation)

How do I test?: Call your local Veterinary Ophthomologist (usually practicing at a Surgical Specialty Practice. Ask if they are able to perform CERF exams. OR, watch for CERF clinics at upcoming dog shows. There is usually a significan discount at these clinics.

What forms do I need?: None. The Ophthamologist will have these forms. Bring your AKC Registration with you and your microchip #. Be sure to mail in a copy of your completed CERF form for your CERF # and Certificate. This will automatically include your dog in the OFA Database.

Recommended reading & usefull links:
~CERF Online Searchable Database


What is this test?: Screens for Luxating Patellas (slipping kneecaps). VERY common in toy breeds and some large breeds. Appears frequently in rescued Basenjis, so we have it coming from somewhere. This is a simple, pain-free test.

When can I test?: Over 12 months of age.

Where can I test?: Your Veterinarian.

How do I test?: Make an appointment with your Veterinarian (or have them do it with another procedure...dental, OFA Hip X-rays, Rabies vaccinations, etc). Your DVM will be able to do this in the exam room, with you present. They simply manipulate the patella and verify stability. Then they sign the form for you. That's it!!!

What forms do I need?: Print and complete the Patellar Luxation Application. Your DVM will sign it, and you can take it home and mail it (with fee) to OFA.

Recommended reading & usefull links:

PK Anemia

What is this test?: It's a DNA blood test that looks for the ABSENCE of an enzyme (Pyruvate Kinase) that is necessary in the metabolism of the Red Blood Cell. Dogs then develop chronic anemia and rarely live past 4 years of age. Carriers will be healthy, but are able to pass the gene and have affected pups.

When can I test?: Any age, including pups.

Where can I test?: An outside reference laboratory or Univeristy. Your Veterinarian will help you draw the blood.

How do I test?: Your DVM will draw blood into a LTT (Lavender Top Tube). Experienced owners can draw the blood themselves as a DVM is not required to sign this form. The LTT is then shipped (overnight preferred) chilled to the desired Laboratory (see list included on OFA PK Anemia Application). Please FedEx blood samples Monday or Tuesdays only. Shipping delays can cause problems, and if blood is received on a Saturday, it will not be processed, and the sample can be ruined. NOTE: Some Laboratories will send you a Cheek Swab kit...please check each labs websites for price and sample requirements (see list below of OFA approved Laboratories).

NOTE: For a limited time, Dr Johnson's lab at MSU will perform a FREE PK Anemia test when you submit a blood sample (Fanconi affected or not) to the Fanconi DNA study. See instructions at the bottom of this page.

What forms do I need?: Print the OFA DNA Based Genetic Database form. Write in "PK Anemia - Basenjis" in the space provided at the top of the form. Include a photocopy of your AKC Registration. Check each Lab's requirements, as they will usually require their own lab form completed in addition to the OFA Application.
Include both the labs form & fee, PLUS the OFA application and fee, along with the blood sample on ice.

Recommended reading & usefull links:

University of Pennsylvania - School of Veterinary Medicine. Test info (OFA approved) and form/fees. PennGen


What is this test?: Screens for Thyroid function and autoimmune antibodies. Thyroid problems affect ALL breeds of dogs and all breeding dogs should be tested throughout their lives.
"Autoinimune Thyroiditis is the most common cause of primary hypothyroidism in dogs. The disease has variable onset, but tends to clinically manifest itself at 2 to 5 years of age. Dogs may be clinically normal for years, only to become hypothyroid at a later date. The markers for autoimmune thyroiditis, autoantibody formation (autoantibodies to thyroglobulin, T4 or T3), usually occur prior to the occurrence of clinical signs. The majority of dogs that develop autoantibodies have them by 3 to 4 years of age. Development of autoantibodies at any time in the dog's life is an indication that the dog, most likely, has the genetic form of the disease." .....Dr Ray Nachreiner, D.V.M., Ph.D

When can I test?: After age 1, then (average) every 2-3 years thereafter.
(NOTE: Estrus can interfere with test results. It is recommended to test 12-16 weeks after ONSET of Estrus)

Where can I test?: Your Veterinary Hospital.

How do I test?: Blood draw (4-6 hour fast not required, but encouraged as severily lipemic samples cannot be processed according to MSU). Call your DVM's office and ask if they use Antech Diagnostics for their bloodwork. Antech now offers an OFA approved Thyroid panel at a low cost. Your DVM's office will handle all the shipping for you (Antech has it's own courier service so there is no shipping charge).

What forms do I need?: Print & complete the OFA Thyroid Database form. Include a copy of your AKC registration and the OFA fee. Your DVM will do the rest.

Recommended reading & usefull links:
~Dr Dodds' simple explaination of thyroid function and treatment


Michigan State University
(Considered THE lab for Thyroid testing in Rhodesian Ridgebacks)
Endocrine Diagnostic Section
Diagnostic Center for Population & Animal Health
4125 Beaumont Road, Room 122
Lansing, MI 48910-8104
Panel Components: TT4, TT3, FT4 by ED, Ft3, T4AA, T3AA, cTSH, TgAA, CTR
Cost: $39, shipping not included...may cost anywhere from $10-$50 to ship chilled specimen.
For info and formsClick Here

Antech Diagnostics
Antech will automatically send your OFA samples to their NY facility.
Panel Components: FT4 by ED, TgAA, TSH
Cost: approx $70, contact your veterinarian's office. This INCLUDES SHIPPING!
Your veterinarian will handle all shipping.


What is this test?: Screens for cardiac abnormalities.

When can I test?: After 1 year of age.

Where can I test?: Your Veterinarian or a Board Certified Cardiologist (recommended).

How do I test?: The OFA Cardiac Application has a checklist that your DVM will follow. It is done during a routine exam, while awake.

What forms do I need?: Print & complete the OFA Cardiac Application. Include a copy of your AKC registration.

Recommended reading & usefull links:

Sample Submission Tips

---Any blood work should be drawn after a 4-8 hour fast. Lipids in the circulating blood can interfere with some test results. Serum from a dog that has recently eaten appears milky instead of clear and can make serum seperation tricky.
---If you are shipping blood, it must be chilled. If you are concerned about shipping times, blood and serum MAY BE FROZEN, but you MUST include a note for the reference laboratory because some tests require different handling techniques when the sample is frozen.
---Always ship blood Monday or Tuesday to be sure the sample reaches the lab during business hours.

General Testing Tips
---Always staple a photocopy of your AKC registration to the OFA Applications. This prevents errors on OFA's part, and expidites processing.
---For X-rays, fast your dog 8 hours, and take for a walk to elimiate. Fecal matter "muddies up" X-ray images.
---MICROCHIP OR TATTOO YOUR DOGS!!!! I understand that OFA will soon be requiring this on all submissions. Besides, ALL dogs should have permanent ID for their safety, right?
---Write the AKC registration # on the check.

Canine Health Information Center

The Canine Health Information Center, also known as CHIC, is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).

For more information on CHIC, click on the logo above.

CHIC - Basenji Testing Requirements

Once your Basenji has completed all CHIC required health tests, OFA will automatically report to CHIC and you will recieve a Certificate in the mail, in addition to OFA listing your CHIC completion by your Basenjis registered name.

To see an example = Click here

BCOA has stipulated the core required health testing for Basenjis to earn a CHIC number. Each breed has different requirements.

Fanconi Study Submissions - University of Missouri (Dr Johnson)

ALL Basenjis are needed in this study. Your dog does NOT need to be Fanconi afflicted. Your dog may have the right DNA to use for comparison when looking for these markers. Your Basenji may be a part of a family they are looking for to "peice this puzzle together". Please submit your Basenji's blood to this study. We desperately need it.

How to submit samples to Dr Johnson's Fanconi DNA Study
1. Print & complete THIS FORM.
2. Attach a pedigree (4 or 5 generation appreciated) and a copy of the AKC registration.
3. Have blood drawn into a Lavender Top Tube (LTT). 3cc's minimum, 5-10 preferred (2 LTT's appreciated). Refrigerate if not shipped immediately.
4. Label tubes with call name and owner's LAST name (as listed on submission form).
5. Pack on ice and mail US Postal Service or FedEx (Monday or Tuesday) to:

Dr Gary Johnson - Basenji DNA Research
320 Connaway Hall
University Of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

*Bonus - Dr Johnson, as a coureousy to our breed, will process PK Anemia testing for FREE!! Print and complete the DNA Genetic Database Application, write in PK Anemia in the space provided.
Staple a copy of your AKC registration
Include a check for $15 to OFA and write the AKC Reg # on the check, and include these with your Fanconi Database submission.

FYI - I have shipped several samples from Portland, Oregon to Dr Johnson via the Post Office for around $10 (including delivery confirmation).

Questions or comments? Write us! All contents
Copyright 2003 Khadijah Performance Sighthounds. All rights reserved. Last updated December 2005