With their adorable faces and playful attitudes, it’s no surprise that Boxers are some of the most popular dogs around the world.
Now, a study has revealed the most common health conditions in Boxer dogs in the UK – including cancer.
Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College found that the breed is most likely to suffer from ear problems, tumours and eye ulcers.
The team hopes the findings will help vets better inform and prepare Boxer owners for what to expect from the breed.
‘This study provides modern evidence to help owners to choose and care for their Boxer dogs today based on a solid scientific grounding that should ensure better lives for both the dogs and their owners,’ said Dr Dan O’Neill, the study’s lead author.
With their adorable faces and playful attitudes, it’s no surprise that Boxers are some of the most popular dogs around the world. Now, a study has revealed the most common health conditions in Boxer dogs in the UK – including cancer (stock image)
Most common conditions in Boxers
- Otitis externa (inflammation of the external ear canal)
- Epulis (gum mass)
- Corneal ulceration (open sore in the outer layer of the cornea)
- Periodontal diseas (gum disease)
- Heart murmur
- Skin mass
- Overgrown nails
- Hypersensitivity allergy disorder
The breed is one of the most popular in the UK, with one in every 100 dogs in Britain a Boxer, according to the study.
Boxers have relatively flat faces – known as moderate brachycephaly – which researchers suggested may increase their risk of conditions such as breathing problems and skin fold infections.
However, until now, there has been limited evidence on the breed’s overall health.
In the new study, the team analysed the records of 3,219 Boxer dogs who received veterinary care in the UK in 2016.
The analysis revealed that, unlike more flat-faced breeds like pugs and French bulldogs, Boxers were at no higher risk of breathing problems or skin fold infections.
Alison Skipper, co-author of the study, said: ‘The Boxer, which is a moderately brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed, has fewer common health problems directly related to its body shape than the extreme brachycephalic breeds.
‘This both suggests that less extreme brachycephalic conformation has less impact on health and also shows how disease patterns may vary considerably between breeds, supporting the value of breed-specific health data.’
In fact, many of the common disorders that the breed experiences are typical of all dog breeds, according to the study.
Otitis externa (inflammation of the external ear canal) was found to be the most common condition, followed by epulis (gum mass), corneal ulceration (an open sore in the outer layer of the cornea), and gum disease.
Otitis externa (inflammation of the external ear canal) was found to be the most common condition, followed by epulis (gum mass), corneal ulceration (an open sore in the outer layer of the cornea), and gum disease (stock image)
Meanwhile, one in seven (14.2 per cent) of Boxers were diagnosed with cancer each year.
Cancer was also found to be the most common cause of death (12.43 per cent of deaths) in Boxers, followed by brain disorders (9.54 per cent) and mass lesions (lumps) (8.38 per cent).
The team also found key differences in the risk of conditions in male and female dogs.
Female Boxers were found to be at higher risk of gum disease, skin masses and urinary incontinence, while males were more likely to experience heart murmurs, aggression, and ear discharge.
While previous studies have suggested that coat colour may influence the risk of certain conditions, the team found no difference between white and non-white dogs.
The team hopes the findings will help vets to take preventative measures to protect Boxers, and provide their owners with information on the health issues to look out for.
Bill Lambert, Health, Welfare and Breeding Services Executive at The Kennel Club, said: ‘We’re pleased this study indicates that most disorders faced by Boxers are fairly common for all dogs, and that there don’t seem to be any prevalent extreme health conditions, including those which can be associated with other Brachycephalic breeds.
‘It remains crucial that puppy buyers do thorough research regarding breed health and go to a responsible breeder; this plays an important part in improving the health and welfare of all breeds, now and in generations to come.’
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