Lung Cancer in Boxers

Written by paul cartmell
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Lung Cancer in Boxers
Difficult and rapid breathing can be a sign of lung cancer in boxers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The boxer is a breed of dog that was originally developed in Germany for fighting during the 19th century, the American Kennel Club reports. Lung cancer and lung tumours affect this dog breed in great numbers. The exact cause of the cancer is unknown but is thought to be a result of genetic mutation, according to Boxer Buddies Rescue Inc.


According to the American Kennel Club, the boxer is a medium-sized breed of dog that was originally bred for use in dog fights and to hunt wild game, such as wild boar and bison. The boxer gets its name from its fighting style of rearing up on its hind legs and using its front paws to bat or box an opponent. Following World War I the boxer became a popular import from its native European home and grew in popularity throughout the 1930s. The boxer has a short, tight-fitting coat and stands between 21 1/2 inches and 25 inches tall.


Cancers of all kinds are commonly found in dogs, regardless of the breed. The cause of around 75 per cent of all lung cancers in dogs are Aden carcinoma, a form of tumour that grows rapidly and can spread from the lungs to distant parts of the dog's body, including the organs, lymph nodes and eyes. Through tracing the family tree of registered breeds researchers have been able to determine boxers, golden retrievers and Burmese mountain dogs have a genetic predisposition for developing lung cancer, according to Boxer Buddies Rescue Inc.


Lung cancer and its tumours are difficult to diagnose through visible symptoms, although a common symptom within boxers is bad breath. A boxer affected by lung tumours can become lethargic, lose weight and show signs of muscle wasting. Alongside bad breath, a boxer affected by lung cancer can produce a bloody discharge from the mouth. Another sign of lung cancer includes pain, which is shown through increases in aggression and rubbing of the face and jaw on the floor. The medical condition of ascites is commonly caused by lung cancer. Ascites is a build-up of fluid within the peritoneal cavity of the pelvic area that can be felt on the exterior of the dog as a lump.


The exact causes of lung cancer in boxer dogs is not known; however, Pet MD reports that unproven risk factors include residing in urban areas and buildings with cigarette smokers. In terms of treatment, chemotherapy medicines are used, which are the same in composition as those used on humans affected by lung cancer. Medicines are administered in doses that reduce the boxer's risk of severe illness, such as diarrhoea and vomiting, and a low blood count that would require hospitalisation.

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