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Arthritis in Boxer Dogs


The joints of the dog become swollen. This swelling then can cause fluid to build up in and around the joint. With the most common form, deterioration of the cartilage occurs. The dog’s body attempts to compensate by restructuring the bone and this is what causes the many health issues

There are 4 types of arthritis in Boxer dogs:

• Osteoarthritis – this is the most common form – if your Boxer dog has arthritis, most likely your dog has Osteoarthritis

• Immune-mediated

• Infective (septic)

• Idiopathic (where the cause is unknown)

The causes of Arthritis in Boxer Dogs

• An injury - Most commonly to a ligament. Dogs that have had luxating patella or hip dysplasia are much more prone to develop arthritis as they age.

• Obesity – Overweight Boxer dogs can often get arthritis as their bodies speed development and extra bone around the joint is built up

• The joints may be genetically weakened or unsteady as a dog grows

• In Boxer puppies, it may be caused by failure of proper bone development


• Steady onset of weakness in one or more limb

• Signs of fatigue - The Boxer dog will not want to go for walks, exercise, etc.

• Stiffness – The dog will show signs of difficultly in rising from a laying position, walking stairs, etc. This is usually worst in the morning and may improve as the day goes
• Joints may be swollen

• Pain – Many dog owners will not be able to that their dog is in pain from arthritis until it has progressed. When a Boxer dog is in pain or not feeling well, there will be behavioral changes – the dog may often retreat to be alone, he or she may become aggressive.


If you notice 1 or more of the above signs, this must be reported to your dog’s veterinarian

• X-rays are currently the best method to access the severity of arthritis in Boxer dogs

• Joint fluid may be collected and analyzed


While you cannot completely control if your Boxer dog gets arthritis, there are some things that you can do to try and prevent this:

• Keep your dog at a healthy weight – do not allow extra weight to do damage to your dog’s joints. A proper diet of the best food is key.

• Keep your Boxer dog on a daily routine of exercise – this is so important not only for arthritis issues but for overall health.

• Start your Boxer on glucosamine before issues develop; while this is routinely given once a diagnosis is in, this is one of the best supplement for Boxers to help prevent this. 

Treatment Options

• If there is an injury to the dog’s ligament, surgery can help to stabilize the joint that is involved

• Anti-inflammatory medications can help to control pain and swelling. These will be prescribed by your dog’s veterinarian
• Acupuncture for your Boxer dog can help with pain management- this is fast becoming an alternative method to treat canine health issues. 

This is often done at veterinary rehabilitation facilities and with some dogs relief is felt after just one lasting 5 to 30 minutes.

• Herbal medicine for dogs – With no conclusive scientific studies to back up the use of herbal medicine use with dogs, there are some dog owners who do say this helps. It is always best to talk about this with your dog’s veterinarian.

• Newer treatments show promise. The one that is most often recommended is called Prolotherapy. Injections of dextrose, lidocaine and vitamin B12 are given on a regular basis and it helps many arthritic dogs in stimulating cell growth and strengthen joint tissue.

• A high dose of concentrated Vitamin C is thought to help - You will want to run this by your Boxer's veterinarian. For an adult Boxer, the dosing is a concentrated powder having the strength of 5,000 mg per teaspoon This is purported to help keep tissue healthy and protect against further joint deterioration.

• Glucosamine Chondroitin helps to rebuild and renew joint cartilage. You'll want to obtain a brand that is manufactured in the U.S. 

• Boxer dogs with arthritis find great comfort in having dog stairs or ramps. Jumping off of your bed or couch can hurt! Steps or ramps for dogs can offer a simple way for them to easily get down from furniture

• Just laying down on the floor can cause discomfort for a dog that has arthritis. A quality canine bed should be used at all times the Boxer is resting on the floor or sleeping. A flat mattress often works best and you'll want this to be orthopedic memory foam. 
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