Like many purebred dogs, boxers are susceptible to certain health problems. This article will focus on the most common health issues in Boxer Dogs. We will discuss the severity of these issues and potential treatments to help ensure your dog’s health.
Health problems in boxers
Regrettably, cancer is a prevalent health concern among Boxers, accounting for nearly 40% of deaths in this breed, as reported by the UK Kennel Club. Among the various types of cancer, brain tumors are particularly prominent in the majority of cases.
A brain tumor is a type of cancer that specifically targets the brain or the membranes that surround it. Due to a lack of understanding regarding the causes and risk factors, it is currently not possible to prevent the condition.
The development of a tumor can be influenced by various factors, making it difficult to pinpoint specific preventive measures.
The appropriate treatment for a brain tumor depends on its severity and type. In some cases, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery may be recommended.
Mast cell tumors.
Mast cell tumors are a frequently occurring type of cancer in Boxers. These tumors can vary in severity, ranging from benign to more malignant forms that have a high likelihood of spreading.
These tumors are not caused by any actions or lack thereof on your part. Boxers are simply one of the breeds that are more likely to develop them.
Surgery is typically employed for the removal of these tumors, although its feasibility may vary depending on the specific location. Radiotherapy may be considered if reaching the target is challenging.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the immune system and has the potential to impact various organs as the cancerous cells travel through the bloodstream.
Lymphoma is a diverse condition with various types, and the appropriate treatment for a dog will depend on its specific diagnosis.
Chemotherapy is typically recommended along with other medications to help your pet maintain a high quality of life during treatment.
Boxers have a higher likelihood of developing various heart conditions that can be potentially life-threatening.
Boxer Cardiomyopathy is one such condition, specifically affecting the heart muscle tissue. This condition can lead to episodes of weakness, fainting, and sudden cardiac death.
Although the cause of this condition is unknown, treatment can effectively manage abnormal heart rhythms, but it cannot provide a cure for the disease.
Aortic stenosis is another frequently observed condition in Boxers. It involves the narrowing of the valve responsible for blood flow out of the heart.
This condition leads to gradual damage to the heart’s pumping chamber, resulting in an increased workload for the organ as it strives to perform its function.
Regular health checks can assist your veterinarian in identifying the presence of this condition. The symptoms of this condition vary based on the degree of valve narrowing and the adequacy of blood flow from the heart.
To prevent and control this condition, this is advisable not to breed dogs that have it.
Bone and joint problems
Boxers have reported various musculoskeletal problems. Some common health issues in dogs include hip dysplasia, ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments in the knee joints, and degenerative myelopathy, a progressive disease affecting the spine.
To effectively prevent musculoskeletal disorders in dogs, it is crucial to adhere to certain guidelines. These include maintaining the dog’s weight at an ideal level, ensuring they are fed a high-quality diet, and avoiding activities that put excessive strain on their knees, such as playing with a frisbee or engaging in ball fetching.
Additionally, incorporating joint supplements into your routine can be highly beneficial in preventing and slowing down the progression of these illnesses.
Problems with the stomach
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)
Gastric dilatation Volvulus, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) or “bloat,” occurs when the stomach accumulates air, fluid, food, or foam, causing it to expand.
This condition can occur with or without twisting of the stomach, but veterinarians are uncertain about whether the twisting or distention occurs first.
When the stomach twists, it causes the contents to become trapped, preventing them from leaving. This, in turn, restricts the blood flow to organs like the heart and stomach.
Bloat is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. It is crucial to be able to identify the signs of bloat, which include:
- an enlarged upper abdomen
- signs of agitation or anxiety
- unable to vomit but coughing
- drooling or panting excessively
Bloat can often be prevented by following some simple precautions during feeding time:
- A minimum of one hour should pass between exercising and eating.
- Eat less quickly for your dog (you can get special bowls made for this purpose).
- Feed the dog at least twice every day but in smaller amounts.
- Don’t allow your dog to consume a lot of water quickly.
Another effective preventive method is an elective surgery called a gastropexy. This surgery involves pinning the dog’s stomach to the abdominal wall, which prevents it from twisting.
While this method does not guarantee the prevention of bloat, it significantly reduces the likelihood of stomach rotation, which is a highly critical condition.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
Brachycephalic breeds, such as the Boxer, are characterized by their short snouts. However, this physical trait can lead to various abnormalities in the upper airways, including:
- Narrow nostrils that limit airflow during inspiration and expiration are known as stenotic nares.
- Elongated soft palate (abnormally lengthy soft tissue obstructing the windpipe on the roof of the mouth)
- Narrow windpipe, hypoplastic trachea
- Everted laryngeal saccules, which are bags inside the larynx that can turn outward and clog the airways while inhaling forcefully.
Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome is a condition that results in a chronic increase in breathing effort and decreased efficiency of breathing. This can cause a lack of oxygenation in situations of extreme exertion, stress, or heat.
When it comes to brachycephalic dogs like the Boxer, there are a number of preventative steps that may be performed to minimize health risks. Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog is crucial because obesity can exacerbate certain symptoms.
Using a harness instead of a collar can help prevent additional pressure on a larynx that is already experiencing difficulties. Additionally, it is advisable for owners to restrict exercise during periods of high temperatures and humidity.
In the most severe cases, certain surgeries, such as soft palate shortening and enlargement of the nostril width, can be performed to help alleviate the serious symptoms and consequences associated with this challenging syndrome.
Boxers are among approximately thirty breeds that are most affected by Degenerative Myelopathy, a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
It spreads throughout the central nervous system, causing damage to the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, and brain.
During the initial phases of Degenerative Myelopathy, a boxer dog will initially encounter weakness in their hind legs, which will gradually escalate to total paralysis as the condition deteriorates.
Degenerative Myelopathy in boxers is an incurable condition that can only be prevented through selective breeding.
It is advisable to always conduct DNA testing before making the decision to breed your boxer.
Testing a puppy or examining its parental records to determine if they carry the SOD-1 gene mutation can provide valuable insights into the likelihood of developing this disease.
Deafness and Hearing Loss in Boxers
Deafness is less prevalent in Boxers of various colors, but it is a significant issue, specifically among white boxers. Approximately 20% of white boxers are deaf.
White boxers are usually not bred in order to prevent the inheritance of this genetic trait in future litters. Although deafness is not specific to any particular breed, a white coat coloration in dogs can often be an indicator that they carry or are themselves deaf.
Deafness in boxers, whether present from birth or acquired later in life, is not a life-threatening condition. However, there are numerous ways to ensure that your deaf boxer can lead a joyful and fulfilling life.
Dogs with shorter coats, such as the Boxer, often experience common skin issues and allergies. This particular breed is known for its susceptibility to skin issues, such as:
- Puppy acne
- Endocrine Conditions
- Allergies to foods or the environment might make them scratchy.
Skin issues in boxers can be attributed to their short coats and allergies. Thyroid problems within the breed are another possible factor contributing to their skin issues.
They have a tendency to produce insufficient amounts of the hormone, which can lead to various issues such as skin and fur problems, as well as potential personality issues.
If you notice any of these issues, it is important to visit your veterinarian. They can conduct tests to determine if your thyroid is underperforming and provide the necessary hormones and medication to correct the problem.
The love that a boxer has for its owner far surpasses any potential health risks. Being aware of the typical health issues that boxers may experience will help you be better prepared.
Boxers are an excellent choice for a canine companion. They are lively, energetic, and have a good life expectancy.
By better understanding these health concerns, you will be able to provide better support for your boxer and ensure that both of your lives are as comfortable and carefree as possible.
To ensure the health and happiness of your Boxer, this is essential to provide them with a nutritious diet and ample exercise.
Your Boxer is naturally energetic, and his enthusiasm for running and playing may surpass your own levels of excitement and energy. However, it is crucial that you consistently interact with your Boxer.
Boxers are known to be one of the most demanding breeds, not only because of their high energy levels but also because of the amount of energy they need from their owners.
Despite the health problems mentioned earlier, Boxers tend to have more energy and a greater inclination to be active compared to many other breeds.
Ensure that your dog’s diet is well-balanced, providing him with the necessary nutrients to support a healthy lifestyle.
Boxers need to consume a diet rich in calories, including fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, to meet the demands of their high metabolism. With a well-balanced diet and an active, healthy lifestyle, your Boxer will remain energetic and unaffected by common health problems.