Breed- Related Diseases: Boxer

The Boxer breed was originally used to hunt large game and in fighting or baiting. However, the Boxers today are more refined and elegant than their ancestors, but they are still strong, smart, and fearless. This breed has smooth coat. With its medium size, it has square build and strong bone, with stretched muscles and strongly developed and molded appearance.


The Boxers are a friendly and high-spirited breed, who are patient and gentle with children. They are fun, can play willingly, and are of high-energy dogs. They enjoy close human contact and is known as one of most popular dogs in America. However, this dog can be rowdy, gassy and drool a lot, attention- seeker which may exhibit signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much, and could be suspicious of strangers.


On the other hand, like other dog breeds, Boxers can suffer from several health issues. Some of them can be treated if diagnosed early enough, and thus visiting your veterinarian to perform yearly tests and talk over health issues of your companion is important.


Cancer– It is the most common health issue with this breed. It can be brain, thyroid, mammary glands, testes, heart, spleen, blood, lymph system (lymphoma), and other organs. Catching this early greatly increases the odds of survival, thus owners should keep an eye out for early symptoms. White Boxers, and colored Boxers with white markings are vulnerable to develop skin cancer from sunburns.


Cardiomyopathy– This condition affects the heart muscle tissue which may result in episodes of weakness, fainting and sudden cardiac death, while some patients can develop congestive heart failure. This shows an irregular heartbeat.


Aortic stenosis– A condition wherein there is a narrowing of the valve through which blood leaves the heart, usually caused by a fibrous ring of tissue. This may lead to progressive damage to the chamber that pumps the blood out of the heart, making the organ work harder to do its job. Regular health checks can help your vet detect the presence of this condition. A veterinary cardiologist can typically diagnose this condition after a heart murmur has been detected. Breeding dogs with this condition should be avoided.


Bone and Joint Problems– These include hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament ruptures (in the knee joints) and degenerative myelopathy (a progressive disease affecting the spine). Each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent undue pain and suffering. In the preventive healthcare of musculoskeletal disorders, keeping the right weight, providing high-quality diet, and avoiding and avoid excessive work on the knees (like playing Frisbee) are key in avoiding this painful injury. Also, joint supplements can be provided.


Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat or Torsion– This life- threatening condition occurs when air, fluid, food or foam collects in the stomach and making it expand, with or without twisting of the stomach. Whereas, stomach twisting can trap contents which leads to restricted blood flow to organs such as heart and stomach. Bloat may be suspected if your Boxer started to show swollen upper abdomen, signs of anxiety or agitation, retching but unable to vomit, excessive drooling or panting, and may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak with a rapid heart rate.


Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)– It is a neurological disease reported in Boxers after middle age, and despite being not common, the Boxer is among the top 3 breeds to develop this. It affects the spinal column and nerves that coordinate the movement of the rear legs. This leads to paralysis, then progresses to front legs. Affected Boxers eventually lose their ability to walk, incontinent and are euthanized. This is a progressive, incurable disease of the spinal cord. Despite not being painful, it is quite serious.


Allergies– Watch out for itchy, scaly skin, the breed Boxers are prone to allergies, both environmental allergies and food-related allergies.


It is important to provide a proper diet and exercise routine to your Boxer. Keeping an appropriate weight is the easiest way to improve his health and extend his life. Building a routine care will help your Boxer live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime. Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease, know when to seek veterinary help, and how urgently.