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Discussion Starter #1
just thought that we have so many members which SO much knowledge on our breed that it might be a good idea to post some signs or symptoms to look for...

also this might sound dumb but im going to ask anyway lol

Isis & Onyx are checked every 6 months ..simple physical... & once a year for full work up and shots..blood ,etc

BUT...now that they are both 6 1/2 should Isis's heart be checked more thoroughly than just a stethascope? or is that how they know if something more is going on?

she always has a great check up but im just curious if theres something more i need to do?
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

Ky, I read something recently about things to do for seniors, I have to see if I can find it  :)
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

yaaaaaaaaaaa whoo hoo lol

8O i hate calling them seniors but its reality even though ive only had them 2 1/2 yrs... :(

jsut want the best for them :D
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

That is a great site.
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

You can have a x-ray done of the heart to see if is enlarged. Esp if they start having coughing spells. Sophie had really bad coughing spells and thats how we found out. We origanally thought she had cancer. Hope that helps some.Sophie also had a couple of collapses prior to the coughing spells.
 
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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

good link!

is this true?  my thor is 2 1/2 yrs old and has been graying for about 6 months.  being so young, many have said it's genetics.  he also has a grade 2-3 murmur - unknown cause after testing at vet hospital.

Graying hair and drying skin are sure signs of aging. More attention to grooming and the introduction of massage will help the condition of the skin and coat.
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

For "peace of mind" in Boxers, a cardiologist auscultation after 24 months of age (with a Doppler Echocardiogram if a murmur is heard) and regular Holter monitoring (maybe every two-three years for non-breeding dogs) would be adequate in most cases.  As far as signs or symptoms, unfortunately often the first symptom is the dog dropping dead.  Syncope (fainting) is also a common first sign.  Sometimes exercise intolerance is seen.  The most common genetic Boxer heart conditions don't typically lead to congestive heart failure so ultrasound and x-rays won't usually catch them - though they may catch other heart conditions that are less common or non-genetic.
 
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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

One question I have, what is a common age for these heart condition to hit a boxer if they do indeed have heart problems.  Neither of my dogs have shown and issues with heart murmurs with the regular vet check, but how accurate is a stethoscopes at actually picking up on them?  I know when I was in middle school a doctor thought she heard one in my heart and ordered an EKG- thankfully it was negative, but are false negatives common as well ?
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

i was told a few months ago that sumya had a very very small heart murmur, the vet said she had to listen a few times to be sure. she also said it is possible for her to grow out of it. i hope so cause it really worries me sometimes. :(
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

Generally a murmur from a congenital/genetic defect will be heard by age two; a cardiologist auscultation is likely to pick up even very minor murmurs, but a general practice vet may miss some of the softer ones.  (Soft murmurs don't usually correlate to a level of disease that will affect length or quality of life.)  Every vet I took my affected Boxer to heard his grade 2-3 (of 6) murmur, if that helps put it into perspective.  So cardiologist auscultation after age two would be considered a 'final' clearance by most.  

ARVC ("Boxer cardiomyopathy") is a different matter.  It has a variable, often late, age of onset.  Clearance at two does not mean clear at five.  Clear at five does not mean clear at eight.  Clear today does not mean clear tomorrow.  The more clear Holters a dog has, the higher the odds that he will remain unaffected, but at this point there's no way to know with any certainty that a dog is clear until a necropsy is done.
 
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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

what causes cardiomyopathy?  what happens in the heart exactly?  Obviously from the breakdown of the word, it it a disease/disorder of the heart muscle, but what exactly is the pathology in the heart?
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

Well, there are different types of cardiomyopathy, of course, but what is called "Boxer Cardiomyopathy" is more precisely arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).  In a nutshell, the muscle in the right ventricle is infiltrated by fatty tissue, which leads to arrhythmias; if these arrhythmias occur in large number or in runs (4 or more in a row), ventricular tachycardia may occur which can lead to syncope (fainting) or sudden death.  

The other form of cardiomyopathy sometimes seen in Boxers, and more frequently seen in other breeds such as Dobermans, is dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).  This presents as a thinning of the walls of the heart and enlargement of the chambers, leading to congestive heart failure.
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

Grammie, regarding the grey in the muzzle, I tend to go with genetics....My first Boxer, Buck was a reverse brindle, very dark and he started greying at about Thor's age as well...Samson on the other hand I got when he was 6 and hadn't even started greying yet...He was about 7 I believe
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

When you buy a pup from a reputible breeder is there really any guarantee the dog will not develop heart issues later?  I believe the breeder we're working with will replace a dog that develops any heart problem either between 1-1/2 or 2.  It might be a good idea then to have a specialist clear the dog before that time.  I have no clue about this stuff.
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

Unfortunately, no, at this time there's no way to guarantee a dog will remain free of heart problems.  Purchasing from a breeder who screens the parents can greatly decrease your odds, but because of the nature of the common heart issues in Boxers, clear or unaffected parents can produce affected offspring.  AS is polygenic, which means multiple genes are the cause and so each parent may have some of the genes but not all of them, and so will not be affected; however if they each have different genes then when they're bred the puppies could end up with all of the ones necessary to cause disease.  In general, it seems unaffected dogs do not produce puppies that are affected at a level that will significantly impact their quality or length of life, but that, also, is not guaranteed.  ARVC is dominant, but late-onset and either variable expression or incomplete penetrance (or, perhaps, both) - which means that an affected dog must have at least one affected parent, but that parent may not show signs of the disease until it is 8 or 10 or 12 (past breeding age), or it may not show signs of the disease at all (affected but asymptomatic).  It is frustrating to no end!  Research is ongoing to find a genetic marker - at that point, we can clearly say, "this dog is affected" or "that dog is not affected" and then we can guarantee the health of the puppies.  Until then, you do the best you can and hope for the best.
 

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Re: Boxers & Heart Issues..what we should know BEFORE ha

Thanks for taking the time to further explain Jennifer.  The pup we are in line go get in August is from a Finnish line of working Boxers.  I guess you just cross your fingers, and hope for the best.
 
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