Why Do Boxer Dogs Have Seizures

Idiopathic seizures, or seizures with no recognized cause, are more common in boxers than in other breeds. Boxers may develop seizures due to head trauma, loud or repeated stimuli that set off seizure activity, parasites, in addition to the causes of seizures described above. Boxers also have a hereditary susceptibility to seizures in general, however researchers have not yet discovered the genetic marker that would explain it. In order to lessen the likelihood of your boxer having a seizure, it is crucial to watch your dog and identify any triggers, if any, that may be present.

Heart Disease

Boxers are predisposed to a variety of heart conditions that can develop both young and late in life. When we evaluate your pet, we’ll listen for heart murmurs and irregular heartbeats. Depending on your dog’s risk factors, we’ll conduct an annual heart health check as necessary, which may include X-rays, an ECG, or an echocardiography. Early heart disease detection frequently enables us to treat your pet with medication, extending their life for many years. Additionally important in preventing heart disease are proper veterinary dental care and weight management.

  • Boxers are particularly vulnerable to dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, a potentially fatal cardiac ailment in which the heart enlarges, becomes weakened, and becomes too big to adequately pump blood to the body. Your pet may exhibit signs of weakness or exhaustion, faint or collapse, hard breathing, or cough as this issue worsens. As early as one year of age, we will perform an echocardiogram and/or an electrical heart screening (ECG) to check for irregular cardiac rhythms. In certain cases, treatment plans call for both prescription drugs and dietary supplements.


Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) or bloat, typically affects dogs with deep, narrow chests. Therefore, compared to other breeds, your Boxer is more vulnerable. A dog’s stomach twists and swells with gas when it bloats. The blood flow to the stomach and perhaps the spleen is cut off by the twisting. If neglected, the illness can quickly lead to death—sometimes in as little as 30 minutes. Your dog may act agitated, heave or retch (although little or nothing comes up), or he may have an inflated abdomen or lie in the attitude of a prayer (front feet down, rear end up). The stomach can be prevented from twisting with preventive surgery in which it is nailed or sutured into place. Take your pet right away to an emergency hospital if you notice any signs!

Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s)

The adrenal glands malfunction in Cushing’s disease and release an excessive amount of steroid hormone. Your Boxer is more likely to be impacted than other dogs because this is a widespread issue in canines. The ailment typically takes time to develop, making the early warning signs simple to ignore. The first signs are increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, and decreased activity level. Later symptoms include a potbelly, poor skin, and hair loss. The majority of treatments include taking oral drugs, and accurate dose calls for constant collaboration with us.

Bone and Joint Problems

Boxers have a variety of musculoskeletal issues that have been described. Despite the fact that it could appear overwhelming, each condition can be identified and managed to save unnecessary pain and suffering. You will be able to take excellent care of your friend for the rest of his life if you keep a close eye on him at home and are aware of the illnesses that could impair his bones, joints, or muscles.

  • One of the four tenacious bands of tissue that hold each knee together is the cranial cruciate ligament. Your Boxer is one of many energetic dogs who frequently suffer from a damaged cranial cruciate ligament. Typically, knee stabilization surgery can help prevent debilitating arthritis while stabilizing the knee. For the best results, physical therapy and multimodal pain treatment are required. The key to preventing these excruciating injuries is to keep him at the proper weight, feed him a high-quality food, and refrain from twisting his knees excessively (like when playing frisbee).

Neurological Disease

Pets with shaky, drunken gaits are affected by wobbler disease or wobbler syndrome, a genetically based neurological ailment. The constriction of the neck’s vertebrae, which pinches the spinal cord and related nerves, causes wobbler disease. The pet loses the ability to feel his feet when the nerves are pinched because the signals they should be sending to the brain are not sent. The early symptoms of wobbler illness are frequently unsteady hind legs, stumbling, and occasionally falling. Medication, neck braces, rehabilitative exercise programs, and surgery are all available as treatments.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy, a neurologic illness that results in weakness and poor nerve function in the rear legs, is comparable to ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease in humans. Boxers are more frequently affected than other breeds. If your dog has this condition, he will eventually experience hindlimb paralysis, which also causes incontinence. He will become weaker and more crippled in the back legs. Degenerative myelopathy cannot be cured, however rehabilitation, exercise, acupuncture, and dietary supplements can be beneficial. You can get a genetic test to see if your dog is susceptible to this heritable condition.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The immune system disorder known as IBD, which is frequent in Boxers, causes the intestinal lining to become overwhelmed with immune system cells known as lymphocytes and plasmacytes. The lining of the stomach and/or the intestine thickens, which impairs the body’s capacity to absorb nutrients effectively. Vomiting or diarrhea that persists for a long time is typical, and symptoms occasionally worsen briefly before returning. IBD may worsen as a result of stress, dietary changes, or intestinal parasites. There will be a need for diagnostic tests, which may involve an intestinal biopsy, if your friend’s diarrhea or other digestive issues cannot be attributed to less serious causes. To maintain control of IBD, lifelong drugs and specific diets are typically necessary.

Eye Problems

Few things have a more significant effect on your dog’s quality of life than the health of his eyes. Unfortunately, Boxers are prone to inheriting or developing a variety of eye disorders, some of which can result in blindness if not promptly treated and most of which can be excruciatingly painful! Every time we examine him, we’ll check his eyes to see if there are any causes for concern.

Multiple Skin Problems

Your Boxer is prone to numerous skin conditions and illnesses. One variety, Malassezia dermatitis, is brought on by a particular type of yeast. Itching, redness, and a buildup of brown, waxy discharge are all symptoms of this yeast infection of the ears. On the skin, this yeast causes oily, hairless regions with a distinctive odor, particularly on the neck and throat. Seborrhea, another frequent skin condition, can result in either oily, greasy, or dry, flaky skin. Skin conditions cause itching and discomfort in your pet. Bathing with specialized shampoos and rinses could be beneficial, and we’ll also take care of any underlying issues like allergies. The sooner you contact to have any skin issues with your pet looked at, the less likely it is that you’ll have an itchy, hairless, or stinky dog.

Bleeding Disorders

Dogs can develop a number of different inherited bleeding diseases. They might be very minor or very severe in severity. When a serious injury or surgery is done on a pet, substantial bleeding can happen even though the animal first appears okay. Blood coagulation disorders like Von Willebrand’s disease are frequently observed in boxers. Before doing surgery, we will undertake diagnostic tests to rule out this issue, such as blood clotting times or a specialized DNA blood test for Von Willebrand’s disease and other related disorders.

Bleeding Tumor

A kind of blood tumor called hemangiosarcoma is more common in Boxers than in other breeds. Although they can develop in other organs as well, these tumors frequently develop in the spleen. Unknown to the pet owner, the tumor bursts open, resulting in internal hemorrhage. Before symptoms appear, some tumors can be as large as a volleyball or even larger. Have his blood examined and an ultrasound conducted at least once a year because we frequently discover hints that one of these cancers is present during senior wellness testing.

Mast Cell Tumor

Skin cancer of the worst kind, called mast cell tumors, affects Boxers more frequently than other breeds. It is best if these tumors are surgically removed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many other types of skin lumps and lesions, many of which are not dangerous, have an appearance that is very similar to mast cell tumors. Therefore, it is imperative to detect and surgically remove any suspicious lumps as soon as feasible. Early identification is essential because surgical excision can often cure cancer.

Thyroid Problems

Hypothyroidism, a common disorder in which the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, is more common in boxers. Dry skin and hair, thinning hair, vulnerability to other skin conditions, weight gain, fearfulness, anger, and other behavioral changes are possible symptoms. Every year, we’ll check your blood for this condition through a screening procedure. Replacement hormones taken orally are frequently used as a treatment.

Acepromazine Sensitivity

Popular tranquilizer acepromazine is frequently recommended as a sedative for anxiety and travel. This medication was frequently prescribed by veterinarians for animals that were afraid of noise and those that were traveling. For a long time, it was believed to have a wide margin of safety. However, recent research has revealed certain potentially harmful side effects in several breeds, most notably the Boxer. Although the medicine is very helpful for treating a number of diseases and adverse reactions are still quite rare, we will carefully weigh the need for sedation against the risk of a reaction and, if appropriate, suggest alternate therapy.

Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Dogs with short noses, like your Boxer, are more susceptible to respiratory distress syndrome, also known as brachycephalic syndrome. Dogs with shorter noses have the same amount of tissue in their nostrils and throats as dogs with longer noses, but there is less space for it to be contained. The soft palate at the back of the roof of the mouth is therefore excessively lengthy and may hang down into the airway. The trachea, or windpipe, of these dogs is occasionally thin and undersized, and their nostrils are frequently too tiny. All of these variations can result in an airway that is so small and blocked that many of these dogs struggle to breathe. Keep an eye out for fainting, loud breathing, coughing, bluish gums, or intolerance to activity. Your pet’s short nose makes him more susceptible to various conditions like flatulence from taking in too much air, pneumonia from ingesting food, and heat stroke. To relieve airway obstruction in extreme situations, surgical correction may be advised.

What does a boxer’s seizure look like?

Seizure Warning Signs A Boxer dog may exhibit a combination of the following signs, depending on the type of seizure that is happening: Drooling. staring off into nothing. moving obliviously.

What brings on a dog’s unexpected seizures?

One of the neurological diseases in dogs that is most frequently observed is seizures. A seizure, which is often referred to as a convulsion or fit, is a brief, unconscious disruption of regular brain activity that is typically accompanied by uncontrollable muscle movement.

Recurrent seizure events are referred to as epilepsy. Seizures brought on by epilepsy might be isolated or come in groups, random and infrequent or occurring on a regular schedule.

What causes seizures?

Seizures can have a variety of reasons. The most frequent cause of seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy, which is a hereditary condition with an unidentified root cause. There are more causes, such as liver disease, kidney disease, brain tumors, head injuries, or poisons.

Seizures frequently happen during periods of fluctuating brain activity, such as when a dog is excited, eating, sleeping, or waking up. Between seizures, affected dogs may seem entirely normal.

What happens during a typical seizure?

Three things can cause seizures:

1) The pre-ictal phase (aura), during which the dog’s behavior is altered, is characterized by hiding, nervousness, or a desire to find the owner. It could be fidgety, anxious, complaining, trembling, or drooling. This could go on for a short while or several hours. This time frame comes before the seizure activity, as if the dog can know what is about to happen.

2) The duration and appearance of the ictal phase might range from a few seconds to many minutes. A total loss of consciousness and bodily functions might occur during the ictal phase, as can subtle alterations in mental awareness such a confused expression, slight shivering, staring out in the distance, or licking the lips. All of the body’s muscles contract spastically and wildly during a grand mal seizure in which the dog loses consciousness. The dog typically collapses on its side, paddles its legs, and appears to be paralyzed. Frequently, the head will tilt backward. Salivation, urination, and feces are all possible. The dog is deemed to be in status epilepticus, which is a prolonged seizure, if it doesn’t stop in five minutes (see below).

3) Confusion, disorientation, salivation, pacing, restlessness, or even momentary blindness occur during the post-ictal phase, or the time immediately following the termination of the seizure. The length of the post-ictal phase and the severity of the seizure are not directly correlated.

Is a seizure painful or dangerous to the dog?

Seizures don’t hurt, despite their dramatic and violent appearance, yet the dog may experience disorientation and possibly terror. It’s a myth that dogs swallow their tongues when they’re having seizures, but this is untrue. You won’t be able to help your pet if you put your fingers or another object in its mouth, and you run the risk of getting severely bit or hurting your dog. It’s crucial to prevent the dog from falling or harming itself by accidentally slamming things upon it. There is little possibility of harm happening as long as it is on the floor or ground.

The dog is rarely in danger from a single seizure. However, the body temperature starts to rise if the dog experiences several seizures quickly (cluster seizures) or if a seizure lasts for more than a few minutes. In the event that hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) follows a seizure, additional issues must be resolved.

What is status epilepticus?

Status epilepticus is a grave and potentially fatal condition. A seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is what distinguishes it. The dog may die or sustain irreparable brain damage if intravenous anticonvulsants are not administered very away to interrupt the seizure activity. In the event of status epilepticus, you must seek immediate veterinary care.

Now that the seizure is over, can we find out why it happened?

Your dog’s veterinarian will start by conducting a detailed medical history after a seizure episode, paying special attention to any past experiences with head trauma or exposure to potentially dangerous or hallucinogenic chemicals. A physical examination, blood and urine tests, and occasionally an electrocardiogram will also be carried out by the veterinarian (ECG). These tests eliminate conditions that affect the heart, electrolytes, liver, kidneys, and blood sugar levels. If your dog doesn’t take a monthly heartworm preventative, a heartworm test is done.

Depending on the intensity and frequency of the seizures, more diagnostics may be advised if these tests are normal and there hasn’t been any recent toxic exposure or trauma. Less frequently than once per month, infrequent seizures are less concerning, but they can become more frequent or more severe. A spinal fluid analysis could be done in this situation.

Specialized procedures like a CT scan or MRI may also be carried out to directly examine the structure of the brain, depending on what is accessible at a referral center or teaching hospital.

How are seizures treated or prevented?

Treatment typically doesn’t start until a pet has:

1) a month or more between seizures,

2) Seizure clusters in which one seizure is followed by another right away, or

3) Grand mal seizures that are intense or last a long time.

Phenobarbital and potassium bromide are the two drugs that are most frequently prescribed to treat seizures in canines. Other anticonvulsants are currently the subject of research, and novel anticonvulsants like zonisamide (brand name Zonegran) and levetiracetam (brand name Keppra) are gaining popularity. For canines that don’t respond well to conventional therapies, combination therapy is frequently used.

Anticonvulsant medication must be taken continuously once started. There is evidence to suggest that the dog may be more susceptible to future, more severe seizures if anticonvulsant medicine is started and then stopped. If put on anticonvulsant medicine and then quickly taken off of it, even healthy dogs without a history of seizures or epilepsy may be made to have a seizure. Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed instructions for doing this if anticonvulsant medication needs to be stopped or changed for any reason.