Boxer Cardiomyopathy (BCM)

Boxer Cardiomyopathy (BCM) is a heart condition that affects Boxers. It’s an inherited disorder that causes the heart walls to become thickened, making it difficult for their heart to pump blood efficiently. 

BCM is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the proteins in the heart muscle. This mutation causes the walls of the heart to become thickened, leading to an inability for the heart to pump blood efficiently.

The exact cause of this mutation is unknown, but it appears to be more common in Boxers than other breeds of dogs. 

BCM is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if left untreated. It is important for Boxer owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of BCM so that they can seek prompt medical attention if their dog has any signs of the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential in order to give dogs with BCM the best chance at a long and healthy life.

Symptoms of Boxer Cardiomyopathy

The symptoms of Boxer Cardiomyopathy include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Exercise intolerance, and fainting

These symptoms can be indicative of other heart conditions as well, so it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately if any of these are present. Diagnosis of Boxer Cardiomyopathy (BCM) is typically done through an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart.

Stages of the disease Boxer Cardiomyopathy

The stages of Boxer Cardiomyopathy (BCM) can vary from dog to dog, but generally the disease progresses in three stages.

Stage 1

The first stage is associated with an enlarged heart and thickened heart walls.

Stage 2

In the second stage, the heart becomes weakened and congestive heart failure may occur.

Stage 3

The third stage is end-stage cardiomyopathy, which is when the heart muscle has become so weak that it can no longer pump blood effectively. At this stage, your dog may experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and fainting.

Treatment for Boxer Cardiomyopathy

Treatment for BCM is limited, but there are some medications that can help to reduce the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

Once a diagnosis of BCM has been made, treatment will depend on the stage of the disease. In the early stages, medications such as ACE inhibitors and beta blockers may be prescribed to help reduce symptoms and improve heart function. In more advanced cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the damaged heart muscle. In some cases, a pacemaker may be implanted to help regulate their heart rate.

In addition, lifestyle changes such as reducing stress and getting adequate exercise can help improve the quality of life for dogs with BCM.

Preventing Boxer Cardiomyopathy

The best way to prevent Boxer Cardiomyopathy is to have all Boxer dogs tested for the condition prior to breeding. This will help reduce the incidence of BCM in future generations of the breed. 

Additionally, owners should be aware that there are other heart conditions that can affect Boxers, such as dilated cardiomyopathy and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. It’s important to get veterinary care if any symptoms of heart disease are present.