A UK Boxer Cardiomyopathy Update:  9/29/08

In a 9/22/08 email from Bruce Cattanach, there has been a major effort by the UK Boxer Breed Council Health Committee these past few years to research and find resolution for Boxer cardiomyopathy (BCM or ARVC).  Based on the above, the Breed Council has now endorsed a Breeding and Testing Control scheme produced by the Health Committee. 


Boxer Cardiomyopathy Update:  1/24/08

 I haven’t updated the heart information on my website in quite some time and want to share what I have learned over the past several years.


There are a great number of boxers with varying heart issues.


Before age 5 – This is the age during which Boxer Cardiomyopathy strikes.   Boxers should be 24-hr. holter-monitored for a baseline between 1.5- 2 years.  Depending on the results, retests should occur every 1-1.5 years.  I hear more and more cases of young boxers dying.


After age 5 – Initially, I thought that once boxers were heart-cleared and turned 5, there was no further threat.  What I have learned is that there are a great many heart problems all lumped under Cardiomyopathy.  As dogs get older, they can develop clogged arteries and blockages just like people.  Unfortunately, I do not think that “stints” are being put in dogs.  Nor do I know if cholesterol medication is given.  The medication prescribed for boxers doesn’t vary much and usually begins with Sotalol (Betapace). 


If you think the boxer outlook is bad, ask yourself how many people over age 60 do you know that are taking some form of heart or cholesterol medication?  Yes, some of this could have been avoided with different diets.  


I, for one, have probably been responsible for clogging some boxer arteries by feeding them liver sausage  and also rich gravies mixed with their dry dog food because I felt bad giving them the same food everyday.  It didn’t help their pancreatic levels either.  So, I admittedly accept the blame for that. 


Conclusion – You should watch your boxers for any symptoms their entire life and test whenever you feel something just isn’t “right” with them.  If a heart problem is caught early enough, you may avoid damage to their heart and they may be able to live a long life on medication.


For those boxers who experience heart problems, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.  

For those lucky boxers whose hearts never give them a problem, be thankful!




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