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Promoting Beautiful, Healthy Boxers

The Northern Ontario Boxer Club invites you to read the articles below.

We hope they will give you an insight into the health concerns we have for our breed.

We feel it is of utmost importance to inform and educate all those interested in owning and/or breeding Boxers.


There is one drug used in anesthetic protocols that should not be used in the Boxer. That drug is Acepromazine, a tranquilizer, that is often used as a preanesthetic agent. In the Boxer, it tends to cause a problem called first degree heart block, a potentially serious arrythmia of the heart. It also causes a profound hypotension (severe lowering of the blood pressure) in many Boxers that are given the drug. Recently on the Veterinary Information Network, a computer network for practicing veterinarians, an announcement was placed in the cardiology section entitled "Acepromazine and Boxers". This described several adverse reactions to the drug in a very short time span at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital. All the adverse reactions were in Boxers. The reactions included collapse, respiratory arrest, and profound bradycardia (slow heart rate, less than 60 beats per minute). The announcement suggested that acepromazine should not be used in dogs of the Boxer breed because of a breed-related sensitivity to the drug.

WARNING: This drug is the most commonly prescribed tranquilizer in veterinary medicine. It is also used orally and is prescribed for owners who want to tranquilize their dogs for air travel. I would strongly recommend that Boxer owners avoid the use of this drug, especially when the dog will be unattended and/or unable to receive emergency medical care if it is needed.

Wendy Wallner DVM
Whirlwind Boxers

Should We Breed?
When one thinks about reproducing an animal, there are many aspects to consider. Is the dog of sound temperament?
Is it an excellent representative of the breed, true to the standard?
Some other questions to consider are:
Have I had my bitch checked for hip dysplasia? Sub-aortic Stenosis? Cardiomyopathy? Hypothyroidism? Other traceable inherited conditions? Has the stud been checked, too?
Can I accept the loss of my bitch to have this litter? (Complications do happen and bitches do die during and after whelping.)
Will I find the best male possible to complement my bitch, even if it means flying to another state and spending a few thousand dollars to do the breeding?
Have I educated myself about whelping and raising puppies so that I will recognize a problem before it is too late?
Can I take off work for several days around the bitch's whelping date so she won't be unattended during her delivery?
Do I have enough money saved in the event that a C-section is required?
Do I have the ability to take a few weeks off work to raise the litter should anything happen to the dam? Can I afford up to $100 a week for milk replacer if the dam has no milk?
Can I afford to feed a litter of weaned growing puppies until they are sold? (This can cost as much as $50 a week if the litter is large)
Can I afford to vaccinate the puppies if they are not sold by the time vaccinations are due?
Can I afford to have the ears cropped if I end up with puppies left unsold at 9 or 10 weeks?
Do I expect to profit from the sale of these puppies? (Most litters cost breeders money. If you are lucky you may break even after all the pups are sold.)
How selective will I be in finding homes for the puppies? What criteria will new owners have to meet? (Do they have fenced yards, will they be able to afford routine medical care, will they be able to afford veterinary bills if an emergency arises, will they continue to feed the pup a quality diet, etc.?)
Will I take back any unwanted puppies or dogs that I have produced when their owners no longer want them?
Please do not breed your dog if you can't answer YES to all of the above questions!! 

Wendy Wallner DVM
Whirlwind Boxers

Heart Testing
AS / SAS Auscultation & Doppler Echocardiogram1 24 mos. Once by Echo date tested**
Boxer Cardiomyopathy1 Holter Monitor 12 mos. Annually for Breeding date tested**

Heart disease can be inherited or it can be caused by bacterial, viral or parasitic agents these are NOT inherited. The damage appears the same in some cases. A screening program can help determine the origin.

All hearts should be ausculted at each veterinary visit. This is particularly important prior to any surgery, including ear cropping. If a murmur is detected the dog should be evaluated to determine the cause and significance of the murmur. Murmurs may be innocent (“flow” murmurs) or may be an indication of structural heart disease such as aortic stenosis, sub aortic stenosis, septal defects or defects of the mitral, tricuspid or pulmonic valves. Echo with Doppler measurements can accurately find and diagnose the origin of murmurs which cannot always be heard or reliably pinpointed by auscultation alone.

Maximum flow values have recently been reevaluated and raised to 2.4 IF there is no evidence of structural causes. The cardiologist should determine if the flow value for an individual Boxer is of concern. Current information is that AS/SAS may develop upon sexual maturity in dogs that were previously tested clear, thus the new recommendation for 24 mos. minimum age. Boxer Cardiomyopathy is a complex condition that is still under study.

Because these results can change over time, or because the age at testing may be significant, it is essential to list the date of the most recent test in each case. There are no normal values for some of the recommended tests, and there can be differing opinions between experts in the field.



Ivermectin is being used in the US to treat demodex, BUT ONLY AS A LAST RESORT IN CASES UNRESPONSIVE TO MITABAN. It must be given in extremely high doses on a daily basis for a period of about 6 weeks and could be toxic and/or fatal to some animals at this dose range.

For all breeders info, this is the current recommendation of the board-certified dermoids on demodex:

If you have a potential/future breeding animal that has demodex, DO NOT DIP.

Alter diet to optimum, use Vitamin E supplement, treat secondary staph infection, make sure pup or dog is current on vaccinations, intestinal parasite free and in the best possible health. Let the dog's immune system rid itself of the mite. If it does, this animal is fine to breed from. If it does not clear on its own then the animal should not be used as breeding stock. They wait out these cases with great patience and most of them will self cure. If they don't they really should not be used as breeding stock.

Wendy Wallner DVM
Whirlwind Boxers



Cheyletiella spp mites 
(Cheyletiellosis, Cheyletosis, "Walking Dandruff")

This article is taken from the Boxer Parade Magazine, Summer 1979 Vol 2 Issue 1Although 5 different species of Cheyletiella have been differentiated on the basis of minute morphological detail, the species most often referred to as C. parasitivorax (the rabbit fur mite). Cheyletiella spp have been reported from: rabbits, squirrels, birds, dogs, cats and man. Cheyletiella dermatitis is a mild, nonsuppurative mite-induced dermatitis produced by Cheyletiella spp. living on the surface of the skin. Significant Facts easily identified by 3 characteristics 

  • very heavy thick pedipalps, each armed with a heavy "claw". (gives the appearance of an extra pair of legs)
  • comb-like appendage on the end of each foot (not claw)
  • prominent peritremes (of respiratory function, look like "fish gills")

Cheyletiella rasguri is the common species affecting dogs, while Cheyletiella prasitovorax is the species found on rabbits. Both species of mites can interchangeably transfer to man, dogs, cats and rabbits. It is not yet clear how long the mites survive on another host. Simple scurfy dandruff with pruritus in young puppies is highly suggestive of Cheyletiella dermatitis.

Life Cycle

  • EGG - white, attached by fine cocoon to base of hair
    Hatches in 4 days
  • LARVA - (6 legs) White, 7 1/2 days
  • NYMPH I - (8 legs) White, 4 1/2 days
  • NYMPH II - (8 legs) White to Yellow, 5 days
  • ADULT - (8 legs) Yellowish, moves rapidly 14 days

all stages occur on the host

  • adult female mite fastens eggs to hair (like louse nits)
  • egg hatches in about 4 days (six legged larva)
  • after moulting larva becomes eight-legged nymph
  • nymph moults again to adult form

complete cycle takes 3 to 4 weeks

Behaviour Of The Mites

  • non burrowing obligatory mite
  • live in the keratin layer of the dermis
  • not associated with hair follicles
  • very active movement in dermal debris
  • when feeding, attaches firmly at 30" angle and engorges on a clear colourless fluid

thought at one time to feed on other mites leg. Demodex) and hence the name C. parasitivorax

repeated attempts to demonstrate this have failed and there is no indication that Demodex sp, or any other ectoparasite is attacked

off host survival is poor

The mite is highly contagious, especially between puppies, but man may be affected too. Adult dogs are usually lightly infected even when in direct contact with infected puppies and very few mites or eggs can be demonstrated in debris from their coats. In contrast to dogs, cats have milder skin reactions and do not have severe cattery infestations, but may be a source of human infections (Gething, 1973). The mites do not burrow but live in the keratin layer of the epidermis and are not associated with hair follicles. They move about rapidly in pseudotunnels in dermal debris, but periodically attach firmly to the epidermis, pierce the skin with their styletlike chelicerae and become engorged with a clear colourless fluid (Foxx and Ewing, 1969).

Clinical Signs

  • usually subclinical in rabbits and cats
  • extremely irritating to dogs and man
  • persistant pruritis with scurfiness
  • trauma of scratching may result in denuded lesions all over the body
  • one case reported excessive surfy dandruff but an otherwise normal appearing coat in a litter of five Sealyham terriers

The course is chronic, affecting otherwise healthy individuals for many months. Infestation is most severe and generalized in two to eight week old puppies. Older individuals may be almost symptomless carriers. On puppies it is usually found in the rump region. Infestation spreads over the back and head but eventually much of the body is affected. Cats tend to have milder, more diffuse lesions and are remarkably free of pruritus. The cat's daily licking and washing probably remove many mites. Affected animals have excessively scurfy, slightly oily coats. The white (or yellowish) mites and eggs together with the keratin scales produced by the epidermal reaction produce an appearance of severe "dandruff'. Except for the scaling there is remarkably little skin reaction per se.


  • routine skin scraping
  • mites clear well and preserve in Berlese medium
  • sometimes find mites during routine microscopic examination of sodium nitrate fecal floatations, especially in cats where there may be many mites with no obvious clinical signs – closer skin examination in these cases may reveal many characteristic Cheyletiella sp mites.
  • Other mite infestations (Otodectes cynotis, Sarcoptes scabiei, Notoedres catti, Dermanyssus gallinae and Eutrombicula alfreddugesi) can be differentiated by microscopic inspection of the mites.


Since all available references indicate success with a variety of insecticide treatments it appears as if the mite is highly susceptible to many chemicals. Removal of the mites has been reported with the topical use of Led-O-Sen, sulphur, benzyl benzoate·lindone solutions, and organo phosphate dips.

Thorough treatment of all animals on the premises is necessary. Malathion, ronnel, lindane or carbaryl will be effective for dogs Pyrethrins, rotenone powder or limi-sulfur dips may be used safely on cats or rabbits. Treatment should be repeated three times at weekly intervals. Although mites do not live very long off the host, a strong effort should be made to physically clean the premises, improve sanitation practices and spray the area thoroughly at least once with a good residual insecticide. Promising results in control have been obtained by hanging appropriate numbers of dichlorvos fly strips in the general kennel area of pet shops with severe infestations. All new animals should be carefully inspected and dusted or sprayed with an insecticide before being added to colony housed animal facilities.

Cheyletiella sp infection in man

  • mite commonly transmits from animal to man
  • human infestation may occur either by direct skin contact between man and animal or through clothing
  • most common site of infection is arms and torso
  • causes a very irritating itchy dermatitis
  • any insecticidal preparation for external parasites of man is likely effective in treatment leg. Lindane lotion- "Kwellada")

Human infestations vary in severity, but after direct contact with infested animals, grouped, erythematous macules form on the trunk and buttocks. These rapidly develop a central papule which becomes vesicular and then pustular, finally rupturing to produce a yellow crusted lesion which is frequently excoriated because of the intense pruritus. Although the lesions are severely inflamed, they are well demarcated from surrounding skin. Older lesions have an area of cental necrosis which is highly diagnostic. Constant animal contact is usually needed to maintain human infections. With no further infestation lesions subside in three weeks.


Carroll, H. F.: Cheyletiella dermatitis. In Kirk, R. W. (ed.): Current Veterinary Therapy V. W. B. SaundersCompany, Philadelphia, 1974. Soulsby, E. I. L.: Helminths, Arthropods and Protozoa of Domesticated Animals. The Williams 6. Wilkins Company, Balt

Gum Overgrowth


A large percentage of boxers have gingival hyperplasia which gets worse with increasing age. It is a familial condition in the boxer breed. There have been many nomenclature changes recently with regard to this condition because of the relatively recent specialty of Veterinary Dentistry.

Another name for this condition is gingival epulis. It is described as a fibrous nodular proliferative hyperplasia of the gingiva of older dogs, particularly boxers. The lesion looks like multiple tumors and has been classified by some as a precancerous lesion. The epulides (plural) are frequently very hard and fibrous and occasionally calcified (like yours). Rarely malignant, these have a tendency to recur. Histopathologically these are (or once were) classified as one of three lesions.

1. Fibromatous epulis (gingival hyperplasia) - firm solid lesions, single or multiple, non-invasive, may recur following surgical excision,

2. Ossifying epulis - identical to fibromatous except that it contains osteoid, cementum or dentin (bony type or tooth type material, hence calcified),

3. Acanthomatous epulis - appears the same outwardly, but invades the underlying bone.

Only this last one is potentially malignant, and even this one does not metastasize (spread to other organs) but is very locally invasive.

Wendy Wallner DVM
Whirlwind Boxers

Orphan Puppy formula

1 Cup Boiled Water (cooled) 
1 Can Carnation Evaporated Milk 
1 TBSP Corn Syrup (white) 
2 Eggs (YOLKS ONLY) 
1 Heaping TBSP Natural Yogurt

Mix ingredients together in blender. Refrigerate.

If formula has not been used up in 3 days, throw it out and make a fresh batch.

I have raised and/or supplemented many puppies on the above formula over the years.

There are other variations, but this one has worked well for me and My boxers

Shirley Bell
Bellcrest Boxers Perm. Reg'd

NOTE: My Father used this same recipe in the 1940's and it works! Another good substitute for bitches milk is Goat's Milk.

Mary L. Curl
Shadowdale Boxers Perm. Reg

Poisonous Plants

Many house and garden variety plants contain chemicals that if ingested in sufficient quantities, can produce toxic effects in dogs and cats. Severe or lethal poisonings are rare; however, many plant toxins can cause discomfort. Listed below are some plant toxins that curious pets should be kept away from.

Plants that affect the stomach and Intestines;
Azaleas (leaves)
Bulbs (Tulip, daffodil, amaryllis, iris)
Castor beans (seeds)
Precatory beans (seeds)
English Ivy (berries)
Mistletoe (berries)
Nightshade (berries)
Walnuts (hulls from around the nut)
Pointsettis (sap)
Snow on the Mountain (sap)

Plants that cause irritation of the mouth and throat;
Dieffenbachachia or Dumb Cane
Cut-Leaf Philodendron
Alocasis or elephant Ears
Calis Lily

Plants that affect the skin and nerves;
Stinging nettles
Japanese Yew
Morning Glory
Plants that affect the blood and circulation;
Oleander (Extremely toxic)
Yellow Glove or Yellow-Be-Still Tree
Choke Cherry (pits and bark)

Submitted by:
Lee & Brenda Muirhead
Dauntae Boxer's Reg.