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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all and happy to be here
I have a 9 year old boxer who from the summer lost a huge amount of weight. He went from 32 to 26 kilos
The vets took bloods and found slight raise in pancreatic enzymes but were not concerned. They then did an abdominal ultrasound and found some lumps on the spleen but said this is common in a dog of his age.
We were told to feed him up even more (which we have on the best meat and kibble) but he’s still thin and lost his muscle mass. He has no other symptoms. No Diarrhea, no vomiting, no panting, coughing or collapsing. I just don’t know what this could be. Can cancer be hard to find? Should I go about the lumps on the spleen again? Any help or experience I’m very grateful for!! Thanks everyone!
 

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I only experienced weight loss with my dogs that died from DCM but your dog is not collapsing and coughing so, I also had that with a dog with pancreatitus as well but she also had bloody stools and some vomiting. I guess cancer could be hard to find but it would seem the bloodwork would show more. How are your dogs teeth? Does he drop a lot of food? Maybe he should eat 3 times a day smaller meals? I know when my dogs were sick I tried everything to get them to eat even resorting to human baby food sometimes that got them going to want to eat. I wish you luck with your old guy, its hard seeing them age like this knowing your time together is probably limited I wish you all the best I did have a female that made it to 13 so all is not lost but they do develop special needs as they age.
 

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Thank you for your reply and yes he eats really well. And masses! He had some Epulis removed beginning of the year but they were apparently benign. Some teeth went too but he has no problems eating or getting the food down. Doesn’t leave a morsel! And loves his treats.
It’s so hard and I just can’t understand it. 13 is an amazing age for a boxer but everyone says 9 is good going 😞 feels too young for me
 

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Thats quite a bit of weight since summer. 13 lbs if I calculate correct but over how many months. That would concern me also. Some common reasons for weight loss in older dog are poor absorption of food nutrients, loss of muscle. Some don't have the appetite they once did. I'd probably be sure his food is higher calorie, high protein and possible add a dollop of plain 0 fat greek yogurt to his meals. I have a 17 year old chihuahua, he was losing a lot of weight but he also was eating as he did. I now soak his kibble, add some canned meat about a teaspoon (he is tiny) and a bit of greek yogurt. He has gained his weight back. His problem is he has bad teeth and not the many..he can't have a cleaning as his liver enzymes are to high to safely use anesthesia on him. AS long as your vet gives him a clean bill of health I would just go ahead and up his food/treat intake some. (as long as it doesn't create another problem like loose stool). Good luck with him.
 

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Thank you for replying
I can give the yogurt a good try. Good idea. He’s on huge portions and the max before he starts to get loose stool. He gets treats and chews in between.
He lost that weight over two months and is not dropping now but not regaining.
Such a mystery. I’m just worried the vet is missing a cancer somewhere.
 

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I'm sorry to hear your boy has lost some weight/muscle mass. You did the right thing, checking in with your vet to look for obvious causes.

So few of us get to enjoy such a long lived life with our boxers. I believe their senior years are truly some of their best years and my heart goes out to those who have lost boxers at a young age and miss out on those years.

My last boxer lived to be 14 and he was 87 lbs for most of his life. That was a good weight for him; he wasn't chubby and was very muscular. He did extremely well throughout his senior years, up until his last few months, when he started having seizures due to a brain tumor.

From the age of 11 to 14 he did require fluctuating amounts of pain meds for his arthritis. He did become thinner those last few years, and would rapidly lose muscle if he was achy and limiting his movements and play time.
I think when they are at that elderly age, it is easy for them to lose muscle if they are aching and limiting their movement. So it might be helpful to monitor his movement and perhaps ask your vet if they see any signs of arthritis or joint pain/swelling, and treat accordingly.

I noticed when my boxer's vision started to go around the age of 11, if I was mindful of how the house was set up so he could navigate easily, he was more active and playful which helped to keep him muscled up.

I would make sure he hasn't picked up any type of parasite and would check in with your vet to make sure your de-worming protocol is adequate for your area.

I think the advice above to start including a daily probiotic is very wise. At your dogs age, I would include a daily probiotic for the rest of his life. Any time there is an incident of stomach upset or diarrhea, there is a big loss of the good gut bacteria that helps with the absorption of the nutrients your senior dog needs. There are multiple probiotics available over the counter or through your vet. FortiFlora is one of many. I included a photo of it below.

My boxer was a really great eater, much like yours is. I made a point of making sure all his treats were just as healthy as his meals and that helped to maintain his weight in his senior years.

I hope you are able to figure out the cause of his weight loss. I would be concerned about it as well.
 

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Thank you for your reply and yes he eats really well. And masses! He had some Epulis removed beginning of the year but they were apparently benign. Some teeth went too but he has no problems eating or getting the food down. Doesn’t leave a morsel! And loves his treats.
It’s so hard and I just can’t understand it. 13 is an amazing age for a boxer but everyone says 9 is good going 😞 feels too young for me
I hope some of this is helping your boxer and you have a lot more time together. They definitely don't live long enough..no matter the age.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for all your suggestions and words.
It’s puzzling. I am going to make another vet appointment this week and go from there
There is no other option I don’t think. He gets so much food but looks awful and it’s to the point where I am so aware when he’s out with me that people must think I’m some neglectful owner!
Boxers are gems and I can’t bear to think that at 9, he’s in his winter years.
 

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I hope the Vet will be able to help you find out what is going on with him and his weight. Maybe its some kind of parasite? Or maybe like someone else suggested its some kind of malabsorption problem maybe thyroid I think your Vet will be the best one to figure this out. I wish you luck.
 

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I'm not saying anything against your Vet here. As Boxer's can have a lot of health issue's sadly. But maybe something you said in passing "colored" what your vet was looking for?? I don't know that to be a fact at all. But maybe a second option with a different vet and just giving your "observation of what is going" would yield a different diagnosis??? Just a thought. :)
 

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Yes I think a second opinion is the best idea too. Some fresh eyes and listening to my observations. Thank you all.
He’s on a good work programme and they checked his stool. So we know it’s not parasites.
 

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Yes I think a second opinion is the best idea too. Some fresh eyes and listening to my observations. Thank you all.
He’s on a good work programme and they checked his stool. So we know it’s not parasites.
Hopefully a second opinion or some of these things will help. It's hard not to feel judged by others when you know you are doing all you can for your baby. I think how you treat them says a lot and that most people likely think you are helping him. People can tell when you love your dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
He’s booked in Thursday morning to see a highly recommended vet in the area who owns a boxer too. Thanks all
 

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He’s booked in Thursday morning to see a highly recommended vet in the area who owns a boxer too. Thanks all
Has a Boxer too! You can't do better than that! Struddell was our Vet's first Boxer, aside from marking her File no ACE! It was all good, good luck. :)
 

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So we went to the vet who has only owned boxers.
She said apart from being so underweight he looks and behaves great.
She is running bloods again and highlighted that he is a senior and even if there was a nasty cancer somewhere it would be silly to cut him open etc etc and put him through all that. She will run the bloods and go from there.
She did say that it’s likely there is something nasty somewhere in him but whilst he’s still happy in himself, to enjoy that but be prepared he’s older now. Her boxer died at 10 4 weeks ago, had no symptoms came back from a walk happy. The vet took a shower and when she came back down the dog had collapsed.
When they post-mortem the dog, it had a cancerous lump pushing into the liver that had ruptured everything:(
So we will do bloods and see from there.
 

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Sounds like you have found an ideal vet to treat your sweet, elderly boxer. Good for you, for advocating for your boy and getting another opinion.

When my previous boxer turned 8, was graying and was showing signs of his age, I remember thinking I hope I get a little more time with him. I got 6 more years! That's practically another boxer life time. So stay hopeful and keep doing what you are doing. The fact that your boy is still so playful says a lot about how he is feeling.

So even though your boy is showing his age, through weight loss, etc., and even if his bloodwork shows something(s), he could still have a lot of good time ahead for him.

We knew my boy had tumors for 4 years before losing him, and much like your vet suggested, my vet and I chose to treat conservatively and make his comfort a priority with pain management if/as needed. We also focused on enhancing his diet so he would get the most out of it.

You are doing right by your boxer and it sounds like this vet is in line with your thought process. That's got to be comforting.
 
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