"The chase" Photo by: Padraicyclops

The following provides an explanation of genetic disease and descriptions of those diseases prevalent in boxers.

A genetic disorder is one in which an abnormality in the genetic make-up (the genome) of the individual plays a significant role in causing a disease or condition. While some disorders can occur as the result of spontaneous mutation, most genetic disorders are inherited. These diseases are heart-breaking because they can impact severely on the quality and length of life of the affected dog - who is generally a well-loved family member by the time the condition is apparent.

Genetically inheritable diseases prevalent in boxers

Boxer cardiomyopathy is a distinct disease from the dilated cardiomyopathy common in some other breeds. Other names for BCM are Boxer Arrythmic Cardiomyopathy (BAC), Familial Ventricular Arrhythmia (FVA) and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). 

Hip dysplasia has polygenic inheritance, meaning it is caused by the inheritance of multiple genes. It is not yet known how many, or which genes are involved. Factors that can make the disease worse include excess weight, excess or prolonged exercise before maturity, a fast growth rate, and high-calorie or supplemented diets.

Hypothyroidism describes an inactive thyroid gland which can be responsible for such conditions as epilepsy, alopecia or hair loss, obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma and other skin conditions. While not considered life threatening, the quality of life for a dog suffering from hypothyroidism is much reduced.

  • Corneal dystrophy is an inherited abnormality that affects one or more layers of the cornea. Both eyes are usually affected, although not necessarily symmetrically. Chronic or recurring shallow ulcers may result, depending on the corneal layers affected.
  • Demodectic mange. The demodex mite lives on the skin of all dogs, and is passed to puppies by their dam. In healthy dogs, this mite causes no problems. However, demodectic mange can occur when a dog has a weakened or compromised immune system. The American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology passed a resolution in 1983 suggesting that all dogs that develop generalised demodex should be neutered or spayed as there is a genetic link to the development of generalised demodectic mange.

Demodectic mange can occur in localised form, which is characterised by a few spots that do not itch. These patchs usually appear on head, neck and fore limbs. Ninety percent of those puppies that develop localised demodex will heal on their own. Ten percent of those puppies will go on to have generalised demodex.

  • Cancer.Boxers are particularly prone to the development of mast cell tumours, lymphoma and brain tumours. White boxers, and coloured boxers with white markings should be protected from the sun as they are liable to develop skin cancer if allowed to burn.
  • Allergies. Boxers are rather prone to allergies, which can be environmental or food related. These often translate into itchy, scaly and sometimes infected skin. Boxers do not tend to do well on foods that have a high grain content, particularly those including corn, wheat or beet pulp.
  • Deafness. About 20% of white boxers are deaf, due to their lack of pigmentation and suppression of blood supply to the cochlea (inner ear). White boxers should not be bred since the genes responsible for deafness in whites are inheritable. Breeding dogs that carry the extreme white spotting gene (white boxers have two copies of this gene, see http://www.boxerworld.com/forums/view_boxer-coat-colour.htm) will cause pigment dilution in all offspring and increase the incidence of deafness throughout the breed.
"The Chase" Photography by:
Patrick McArdle
The Boxer
tbri2176022.jpg tbri2176021.jpg tbri2176020.jpg
The Boxer Health
Food & Nutrition
The White Boxer
The Senior Boxer
tbri2176014.jpg tbri2176013.jpg tbri2176012.jpg tbri2176011.jpg tbri2176010.jpg tbri2176009.jpg tbri2176008.jpg
Friends of
The Boxer Rescue
tbri2176006.jpg tbri2176005.jpg
Please support
The Boxer Rescue
tbri2176003.jpg tbri2176002.jpg tbri2176001.jpg tbri2001038.jpg