Though we cannot avoid all concerns, we can keep our dogs healthier for longer with awareness and safe practices. Understanding common boxer health problems will allow you to identify issues early on and find ways to maintain your boxer’s comfort, mobility, and overall well-being. Six of the most common health issues in Boxers include Hip dysplasia, Bloat, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM). hearing loss, cancer, and skin problems.
Canine Hip Dysplasia in Boxers
The threat of hip dysplasia is common in the boxer dog breed. These dogs are very athletic, and identifying warning signs of this degenerative joint condition will allow you to support your pup before they become seriously injured.
This condition occurs due to a malformation that prevents the hip joint from properly fitting into the hip socket. If your Boxer begins to show signs of hip dysplasia, speak with your vet and consider utilizing a leg sling that will allow them to maintain their mobility and better manage the effects of this condition.
Boxers with advanced hip dysplasia will lose rear leg strength and can find walking challenging. Providing a Boxer with a wheelchair will relieve pressure on the hip joints and allow them to walk easily.
It may be difficult to come to terms with the unavoidable disorders that frequent the boxer community. However, there are some issues that you can prevent or avoid with close attention. Bloat occurs when the gastrointestinal system swells after eating. It prevents digestion and the passing of stool.
Numerous abnormal behavioral warning signs indicate your dog is experiencing bloat issues. Overeating is the most common cause of bloat. Controlling your boxer’s intake of food and the rate at which they eat will help avoid the possibility of bloat.
Boxers are one of about thirty breeds most affected by degenerative myelopathy, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. It spreads throughout the central nervous system, causing damage to the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, and the brain. In the earliest stages of Degenerative Myelopathy, a boxer dog will experience hind leg weakness that will progress to complete paralysis as the condition worsens.
DM in boxers is incurable and can only be avoided through selectively breeding. DNA testing should always be done before deciding to breed your boxer. Testing a pup or checking its parental records to see if they carry the SOD-1 gene mutation will help shed light on the possibility of developing this disease.
How to choose a boxer dog wheelchair
A boxer diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy will require a dog wheelchair. When dealing with DM, your boxer will need a wheelchair that is adaptable and can convert easily from a rear wheelchair to a full support dog wheelchair. Boxers are active and playful dogs, and the best wheelchair for your boxer should have at least 12″ wheels. A larger wheel size will make it easier for your dog to move, but some larger boxers may require a 16″ wheel.
Boxer Deafness and Hearing Loss
While deafness is not as common in all colorations of Boxers, it is a major problem in white boxers. Roughly 20% of white boxers are deaf. White boxers are typically not bred to avoid this genetic trait from passing on to the next litter. While deafness is not a breed-specific problem a white coat coloration in a dog can be a good indicator that they carry or themselves are deaf. This is not life-threatening and whether born deaf or if they are losing their hearing there are many ways to help your deaf boxer live a happy life.
Cancer in Boxers
As a breed, boxers are predisposed to cancer and cancerous tumors. The highest risk of cancers is among the lighter-colored boxers. Boxers with light-colored coats are prone to develop skin cancer. Mast cells and generalized tumors are very common across the entire breed.
While you can’t completely stop the development of cancer, being vigilant with your boxer’s body is important. Make sure you are checking them for developing lumps and bumps so if something odd does start growing you are aware and can bring it to your veterinarian’s attention immediately.
Skin issues and allergies are common in dogs with shorter coats like the Boxer. This breed specifically deals with skin issues like:
- Canine Acne
- Endocrine Diseases
- Itchiness – caused by food/environmental allergies
Boxer skin issues can be linked back to their short coats and allergies. Thyroid problems among the breed are another potential link to their skin problems They tend to under produce the hormone and that can cause issues with both their skin and fur, among personality issues that it can create. If you are noticing these issues make sure to go to your vet as they can test for an underperforming thyroid and provide needed hormones and medication to correct the issue.
The love a boxer has for the owner, far outweighs the potential health risks. Understanding the common boxer health problems that could arise will allow you to be more prepared. Boxers are great dogs. They’re lively, energetic, and have a solid life expectancy. Understanding these health concerns should help you better support your boxer and keep your life together as comfortable and carefree as possible.
Boags the Boxer Gets a Wheelchair
For the first few days, I coaxed Boags into short walks, twice a day. In the mornings, my neighbor walked her eager, active female dog along, just ahead of us. Because Boags was interested in them and what they were doing, it took his mind off the wheels that he was pulling behind. Only occasionally would he turn around and look at them like “Hmmm. What’s going on back there?”
On evening walks, I enlisted my 17-year-old beagle, who is as slow as you would expect a dog that old to be. There we’d go … me holding my arms up and outstretched on either side, trying to keep the leashes from becoming entangled or the old dog from being run over… again.
Walking those two together was not easy, but Boags had begun to relax more and more. By the time he went back home, he’d learned to do his potty business while on wheels … since the very first day! He’d become comfortable going up and down the slanted curbs from the street to the grass, and vice versa.
He’d learned how to back himself out of tight spaces when he’d gone too far into the brush. After the first week, he’d even chased after his tennis ball a few times! That’s when I realized for sure that the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair was giving him the freedom to get around and would extend his enjoyment of life for however much longer.– Roselyn Morris