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Common Boxer Dog Health Issues

Posted: 05/25/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

Boxers, with their playful spirit and iconic squared faces, are a beloved breed. However, like many breeds, Boxers are predisposed to certain health conditions. Being aware of these potential issues can help you proactively care for your furry friend and ensure they live a long, happy life. Keep reading to learn about the most common Boxer dog health issues.

The Top Boxer Dog Health Issues

The Boxer dog was historically used for hunting, which means the modern Boxer is an excellent runner and playful jumper. With a well-muscled body, smooth coat and deep chest, Boxers typically weigh between 65-80 pounds, most of that being pure unadulterated silliness!

But things can feel not-so-silly when our Boxer pups feel unwell. To help your Boxer thrive and live a long and healthy life, understand the common health problems they are prone to:

Cancer

Boxers are prone to various cancers including thyroid, brain, blood and others. They are also notorious for growing benign skin tumors that sometimes require surgical removal under local anesthesia. As a Boxer parent, you want to always be observant of any unusual growths above or beneath your fur baby’s skin.

Heart Disease

Boxers are prone to developing a condition called Aortic Stenosis (AS). This refers to a narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart, the valve that blood passes through on its way from the heart to the rest of the body. 

When this valve narrows, the heart is forced to work much harder to force blood through it. Boxers with mild cases of AS do not show symptoms at first, it is instead usually detected through a yearly exam, where the vet will notice a heart murmur. 

More severe cases present with the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting

The tests used to confirm a diagnosis of AS are electrocardiography (ECG), and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart).

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is an irregular heartbeat. Boxers with this disease can experience fainting, coughing, rapid breathing, and sometimes even sudden heart failure. The disease can show up in dogs as young as 6 months old and as old as 10 years of age.

Kidney Disease

The Boxer breed is prone to developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) as they age. Once diagnosed, dogs with (CKD) have a typical lifespan of 1 to 1 ½ years before they succumb to the disease.

Spondylosis

Spondylosis is a degenerative condition that can impact a Boxer’s spine. While it’s more common in older dogs, injuries can also trigger its development.

Boxers are known for their stoicism, so you might not always notice signs of pain. However, be on the lookout for changes in movement, stiffness, or limping.

The good news? Treatment options are available for mild spondylosis. Pain medication and anti-inflammatories can provide relief. Physical therapy and a tailored exercise program can also improve your Boxer’s mobility. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, so a weight loss plan might be necessary if your dog is overweight.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia describes an abnormal development of the ball and socket joint that makes up your dog’s hips. When this ball and socket don’t properly fit together, movement can be painful and the joint can become even more damaged over time.

Hip dysplasia typically shows in dogs between 4 months and one year of age. Signs include pain, lameness, and a lack of desire to go on walks or play.

Mild cases of hip dysplasia may be managed with pain medication, where more severe cases may require surgery, and in some cases, may require total hip replacement.

causes of skin tags on dogs

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs when a dog’s thyroid gland malfunctions and doesn’t produce enough essential hormones. These hormones regulate a dog’s metabolism, growth, and overall health. When production dips, various health problems can arise.

While symptoms typically appear between 4-6 years old, hypothyroidism can be diagnosed at any age. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Low Energy Levels: Your dog might seem sleepy, lethargic, and lacking their usual enthusiasm.
  • Weight Gain Despite Appetite: Even with normal eating habits, unexplained weight gain can be a sign.
  • Changes in Fur and Skin: The once-glossy coat might become dull, dry, and prone to excessive shedding. Itchy skin, sores, and ear infections can also develop.
  • Sensitivity to Cold: Your dog might seem uncomfortable in cooler temperatures, seeking warmth more often.

If you notice these signs, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Taking the Very Best Care of Your Boxer

Because of these common Boxer dog health issues, it’s very important to monitor your dog for any of the above symptoms. Equally important is to make sure you take your pup in for their yearly exam. This will help your vet catch anything before it gets out of hand.

And finally, make sure you’re prepared for the potential vet bills you might face in the future with a pet insurance plan. Did you know hip dysplasia surgery can cost anywhere from $2,000 to over $6,000 for a total hip replacement. A pet insurance plan can reimburse you for up to 100% of covered costs.

Gain some peace of mind by getting a free quote from the top pet insurance providers in the country.

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References:

  1. https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/boxer
  2. https://www.usboxer.org/health-issues
  3. https://americanboxerclub.org/health/

 

Disclaimer

The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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