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11 Boxer Dog Health Issues Owners Should Know

boxer dog breed health issues petrage (1)

The following is a list of 11 potential health issues that boxer dog owners may face at one time or another. It is always good to be aware of any signs or symptoms that may arise so that immediate medical attention may be provided, if necessary, to help your pup live a long and healthy life!

1. Cushing’s Disease


A medical condition where the Adrenal Glands produce too much steroid hormone. Symptoms include excessive drinking and urination-increased eating and reduced activity. Can usually be corrected with medication.

2. Degenerative Myelopathy

Paralysis of the Hind Legs

A degenerative disease that effects Boxers in which the nerves in the hind legs are effected. Symptoms will be weakness and loss of function in the hind legs that will eventually result in paralysis.There is a genetic test for the disease but no cure.

3. Lymphoma

Abnormal White Blood Cells

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that causes the body to produce abnormal white blood cells.Swollen glands, weight loss and difficulty breathing often occur. This type of cancer is treatable through chemotherapy but is a lifelong, costly commitment.

4. Mast Cell Tumors

Skin Cancer

A type of skin cancer found in boxer dogs more than many other breeds. It may be difficult to identify because it may appear as any other bump or lesion that dogs may often have. Early detection and removal are critical.

5. Hemangiosarcoma

Bleeding Tumor

A tumor that generally forms in the spleen (but may form in other internal organs). Symptoms generally do not show until the tumor has ruptured-resulting in internal bleeding.

6. Acepromazine Sensitivity

Potential Dangerous Side Effects

Acepromazine is a widely used tranquilizer that is often used in treating dog “phobias” and anxiety. Recent studies have shown there may be dangerous side effects for some breeds-including boxers.

“In the Boxer, it tends to cause a problem called first degree heart block, a potentially serious arrhythmia of the heart. It also causes a profound hypotension…”

7. Hypothyroidism

Thyroid Hormone Imbalance

This condition occurs when the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms include lethargy, fearfulness, aggression, and hair loss. It can usually be treated via medication.

8. Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Due to the boxer dogs head anatomy and smaller snout sometimes the windpipe and nostrils are undersized resulting in severe difficulty breathing. Loud breathing, inability to sustain exercise and fainting are all side effects. Extreme cases require surgery.

9. Epilepsy


Epilepsy is generally an inherited condition in boxers. Seizures usually will start between 6 months-3 years of age. A lifetime of medication is required to control the seizures.

10. Dilatation and Volvulus


A condition that effects many “large-chested” breeds in which the stomach turns and twists-filling with gas. This will cut off blood supply to vital organs and can result in death. Care should be made not to feed Boxers directly after heavy exercise AND not to let them exercise AFTER eating.

11. Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Weakened Heart

A heart condition that results in an enlarged, weakened heart muscle.Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, fainting and lethargy/weakness. If found early enough, the condition can generally be treated with medication.



12 Most Common Dog Diseases

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