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What is Phosphofructokinase Deficiency?

Phosphofructokinase is an important enzyme that aids in the metabolism levels of dogs within their red blood cells and the muscles. It is needed for exercise and energy consumption. When dogs have a deficiency in this enzyme, they have difficulty being active and exhibit adverse reactions and symptoms to being active. In order for the proper breakdown of the energy source known as glucose to occur, this enzyme (phosphofructokinase) must be prevalent in the body. Energy must be released consistently for the dog to live a normal, healthy, and active lifestyle. When there is a deficiency, the dog is often very weak and tired.

Phosphofructokinase deficiency is the abnormally low levels of the enzyme, phosphofructokinase, in the body. This deficiency negatively affects the energy consumption of the canine, which results in severe fatigue during activity.

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Symptoms of Phosphofructokinase Deficiency in Dogs

When a dog has low levels of energy-releasing enzymes, phosphofructokinase deficiency occurs. If your dog has any of the following signs, it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Symptoms of phosphofructokinase deficiency include:

  • Mild anemia
  • Lethargy 
  • Weakness
  • Inactivity
  • Difficulty tolerating exercise
  • Pale gums
  • High fever
  • Discolored (dark) urine


This disorder is genetic and affects specific dog breeds more than others. Dog breeds that are commonly affected are:

  • English Springer Spaniels
  • American Cocker Spaniels
  • Mixed Dog Breeds

Causes of Phosphofructokinase Deficiency in Dogs

The cause of phosphofructokinase deficiency in dogs is a recessive (autosomal) trait. Both of the dog’s parents have this gene.

Diagnosis of Phosphofructokinase Deficiency in Dogs

To begin, your veterinarian will do a complete physical examination of your dog. Once you give your veterinarian a detailed list of symptoms that your loved one is suffering from, he will perform several tests. He will perform a blood test, a urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile to check the organ functions of the dog. 

It is the blood work that will show the veterinarian the anemia and any other abnormalities of the red blood cells. The veterinarian may also see high levels of calcium, urea, magnesium, protein, and potassium, which will reveal abnormalities in the workings of the blood cells and the enzymes. Bilirubin levels may also be elevated due to the red blood cells being abnormal. Genetic testing may also be given to identify carriers of this disorder and to further establish a diagnosis of phosphofructokinase deficiency.

Treatment of Phosphofructokinase Deficiency in Dogs

Other than the dog possibly needing a blood transfusion, there is no treatment for this condition.

Recovery of Phosphofructokinase Deficiency in Dogs

The prognosis is good with this disorder; however much care will need to be given to your loved one to ensure he lives a happy and relatively healthy life. You will need to be sure you avoid stressful situations with your companion, cut out any exercise and rough play. Also, it is important to keep your dog out of the sun for any length of time so he does not get overheated. 

Follow your veterinarian’s advice for caring for your dog with phosphofructokinase deficiency, as he may have advice to keep your dog happy and healthy. If you see your dog continuously exhibiting any of the symptoms, ask your veterinarian what else can be done to keep him from feeling poorly. He may have suggestions for you, and some dog owners have even sought out the advice from homeopathic veterinarians to keep their dog from feeling less tired. It is important to not breed your dog, as the gene of this disorder can be carried on. The gene is autosomal recessive, and your affected companion’s parents carried the gene that led to this disorder.