Thyroid Problem --Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is known to occur in Basenjis. The most common symptoms include weight gain, poor coat, reduced activity level, and irritability. Other symptoms, i.e., weight loss have been described. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals reports that, of Basenjis tested, at the time of this writing, 82.9% were normal in all respects, 6% had autoimmune thyroiditis, 0.4% had idiopathic hypothyroidism, and 10.8% were equivocal. Autoimmune thyroiditis is known to be inheritable.
Hypothyroidism is easily treated with an inexpensive thyroid supplement; the dose may need periodic adjustment, and this should only be done with veterinary supervision.
Pet owners may want to have their vet periodically check their dogs, especially if they show any symptoms that suggest hypothyroidism.
Thyroid panels test only for current thyroid status. They cannot predict future changes, and they do not indicate if a dog can produce offspring with hypothyroidism.
It is a good idea for breeders to periodically check their breeding stock with a full thyroid panel beginning in early adulthood. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has an open registry for dogs that have been tested for autoimmune thyroiditis at 12 months or older, using approved labs. This thyroid test is part of the CHIC panel for Basenjis.
Testing for breeding stock is done primarily to rule out autoimmune thyroiditis, which is known to be inheritable. A full thyroid panel is used, one that includes total thyroxine (T4), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free T4 by dialysis, and thyroglobulin autoantibody (TgAA or TAA.)
Elevation of both TSH and TgAA levels are used to diagnose autoimmune thyroiditis - however, as the disease progresses, these levels may decrease due to complete destruction of the thyroid gland. Dogs that have had autoimmune thyroiditis for several years but have never been tested might not show the elevated TSH and TgAA needed for definitive diagnosis.