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Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs

Fanconi syndrome negatively affects a dog’s kidney function.

Fanconi syndrome is a condition that probably has a genetic basis because 3/4 of the reported cases are in Basenji dogs. Other breeds affected include:

  • Norwegian elkhounds
  • Shelties
  • Schnauzers

Some cases of Fanconi syndrome are acquired rather than genetic. These cases are caused by the use of a drug. Medications associated with Fanconi syndrome (rarely) are:

  • Gentamicin
  • Streptozotocin
  • Amoxicillin

Finally, Fanconi syndrome can be secondary to a case of hypoparathyroidism (also rare).

What Is Fanconi Syndrome?

When a dog has this condition, there are abnormalities in the tubules of the kidneys that negatively impact that organ's ability to transport water, electrolytes, glucose, and amino acids. Those components are then lost excessively in the urine rather than being reabsorbed for use by the body.

Signs of Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs

Dogs may not show any signs of the condition when it is mild. As the severity increases, signs can mimic those of kidney failure and may include:

  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Young dogs may not grow well

Diagnosis of Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs

When a dog has extra glucose in the urine but not in the blood along with excess amino acids and protein in the urine, Fanconi syndrome is probable. If the condition has progressed to kidney failure, increased BUN and creatinine (azotemia) is seen on blood work results. Low blood phosphorus and calcium may be seen during the condition, especially in young dogs.

Treatment of Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs

If the Fanconi syndrome is suspected to be secondary to the use of a medication, the drug should be stopped immediately.

There is no treatment to reverse the kidney tubule damage prominent in Fanconi syndrome. Treatment is supportive care aimed at specific manifestations of the condition, as is the treatment for kidney failure.

For example, sodium bicarbonate treatment for metabolic acidosis and potassium citrate treatment for low potassium may be used if warranted by blood results.

The course of the condition varies in individual dogs. Some dogs remain stable for long, while others rapidly develop kidney failure. Close monitoring of blood and urine tests is required to intervene with supportive treatments as necessary.

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