The #1 cause of seizures in Boxer dogs is epilepsy, and therefore we will discuss treatment for this disease.
Anti-epileptic medications do not always prevent all seizures from occurring, but can greatly reduce both the number of attacks and the severity of them. The most widely used and effective treatment is a combination of phenobarbital and potassium bromide.
Phenobarbital frequently causes marked drowsiness with many Boxer dogs, however the body normally adjusts within a couple of weeks as it builds up a tolerance to this side effect. There are some other side effects, however benefits generally outweigh risks.
Any dog on a regimen of this medicine must be tested on a regular basis for any possible damage to the liver. Rarely, it can cause the hind legs to become stiff, but if this does occur, it goes away once the dosing stops.
In cases where this combination does not effectively help a Boxer dog in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures, other medications may be tried. This includes: Clonazepam, Clorazepate and Valproic acid.
It should be noted that in most cases of the phenobarbital/potassium bromide combo not working, it is a matter of too low of a dose and/or owners not giving the medication as directed. For this reason, owners are strongly encouraged to stick to a strict dosing schedule.
In cases of idiopathic seizures (the cause cannot be determined), acupuncture is a holistic treatment that may help. Sessions usually last 20 to 30 minutes once per week and 4 to 6 weeks are usually given to see if it is effective. If so, sessions may be stretched out to only once every 6 weeks.
Some canine acupuncturists also recommend herbs in addition to this, and it is highly recommended to check with your Boxer's veterinarian first.
Dietary Changes -
With some dogs, a change to the diet can be very helpful in cases of idiopathic seizures (cause unknown) as the cause may be an allergic reaction to a particular food element. The 2 options are to switch to a hypo-allergenic commercial brand or to home cook
- which is the recommended choice since an owner can have full control over all ingredients and foods that the Boxer ingests.
With home cooking, one would begin with a very plain, simple diet of white, de-boned chicken breast and plain, unseasoned rice. Every 2 weeks, a new ingredient is introduced. Some of the elements that are slowly incorporated into the meals are: carrots, green beans and potato.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are types of fatty acids that have many benefits. These supplements are frequently used to keep a Boxer dog's skin and coat healthy. It is thought that these fatty acids decrease neuron activity in the brain (for both dogs and humans) and therefore works to decrease the severity and frequency of seizures that are classified as "cause unknown".