Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fanconi Holistic Treatments?

BRAT Blog Readers, we need your help!  This morning we got an inquiry from one of our readers, that we thought was an important enough topic that we wanted to post it up for all of you to respond to.  As many of you know, Fanconi disease is a kidney disorder that is genetically prevalent in basenjis.  For some background information on Fanconi and the Gonto protocol that is often used to treat the disorder, please visit the BRAT Fanconi webpage.  The question that we got from our reader was about whether there are other, more holistic methods to treat Fanconi.  Please respond with any information that you might have, or anything you think might help!  Thanks. 

I have a rescue Basenji, who is the love of our lives. She was diagnosed with Fanconi last year and put on the regime that was given by Dr. Gonto. After a few weeks on this regime, however, she became seriously ill with very frightening blood lab readings. Does anyone know of a Holistic approach to treating Fanconi? We live in the Seattle, WA area.


  1. Please do not spend precious days of your sick basenji's life searching for alternate treatments UNLESS you have consulted with Dr. Gonto and he cannot help. (Seems very unlikely.) What did your vet say? Did he talk to Dr. Gonto?

    Dr. Gonto has the best interest of your dog at heart - he is not looking to have his ego stroked. Email him at and ask if there is a time when it would be convenient to talk to him by phone. You will need to have all the lab results, etc. available.

  2. Sorry, I left out part of Dr. Gonto's email address! It is He checks email throughout the day.

  3. The Gonto Protocol IS holistic as it uses no drugs, just natural ingredients. The primary supplement (and the only one absolutely 100% necessary without which the dog will certainly perish) is bicarbonate of soda. Everything else is vitamins and minerals to replace what is being spilled. I would strongly advise them to follow the protocol if they want to save their dog. It is the cheapest and most effective control known for the condition.

  4. What were the blood lab readings that were so frightful? I have a 13 year old female Fanconi affected who has now been living with Fanconi for half her life. She has been on the Gonto protocol since first diagnosed and her latest venous blood gas test was very good. If one does not give the sodium bicarbonate the dog will die of acidosis! No prescription drugs are required for treatment, only the bicarbonate and supplements.

  5. And may I add you can't just guess at how much bicarbonate and supplements to give. Your vet should give the latest venous blood gas test and follow the Gonto protocol. If your vet does not have this information please make a copy of it and give it to your vet.

    I believe there that if caught early the regimen should give a dog a long healthy life. However there are some dogs that just do not do well and my thoughts are that there may be other problems involved as well. It could be that thyroid is also involved as well as the possibility of outside influences such as taunted dog foods, allergies and inherited problems such as liver shunts that could add to the already serious problem of Fanconi. It is hard to try and cover all bases and can be costly too with tests for many different problems.

    Thirteen years is a good old age for a Basenji although many have lived to be seventeen or older. Catching Fanconi at this age may be harder to support.

    1. My vet has been absolutely terrific during this time. She was found to have two liver abscesses during her time of illness. We are due to get another blood gas next week and will await those results. There were obviously some underlying condition which we did every test possible to rule out. I feel we did not leave any stone unturned and Drt. Gonto agreed with that - he does want her on the regimen again - we were up to the 8 bicarb tablets a day - it was so hard on her and was so docile and lethargic. We now have her back to normal doing her Basenji 500 and loving playing and getting into mischief. I am so scared of her getting sick again. We have spent a few thousand on her - we don't begrudge one cent of it to have her back to her old self. I really appreciate all the input I am getting from other Basenji owners and I will get another blood gas done. Thanks so much.

  6. Great that you have Dr. Gonto involved. Unfortunately, fanconi is a disease that can affect any and all systems and the entire body because it can change blood chemistry (electrolytes & others) and nutrient availability. It appears that the more progressed the fanconi is when it is diagnosed, the harder it is to successfully treat it. I'm guessing that if she started on 8 bicarbs a day, it wasn't caught early. As you point out, other conditions can certainly complicate the picture, as well. IT is true, that without the bicarbs, she will not make it. It is also true that this is a holistic treatment. IF she is not doing well on it, there may be treatment strategies that might be helpful. Folks who have dealt a lot with fanconi have tried (some successfully) different methods of working with different challenges associated with fanconi and the treatment. Have you tried the fanconidogs yahoo group for ideas? For instance, she may need to work up to 8 bicarbs/day gradually. She may need to have many smaller doses spaced out during the day. Her eating schedule / bicarb schedule may need to be altered. etc. There may other fanconi-associated issues -eg underlying UTI that can make a difference as well. It is soooo hard to see them suffer. Hope you find something that helps.